Durham Family Immigration Attorney

Family Visas & Immigration Services in North Carolina

Some of the most common reasons for immigration are family-based. Perhaps you and your family members are hoping to immigrate into the United States. You might also be trying to join your family or have them join you in America. All of these situations require the immigrant individual(s) to complete an extensive and complex application process, as well as detailed paperwork, in order to be granted residency in the United States. A skilled Durham immigration attorney is your best choice for counsel in any of these situations.

If you or a family member are looking to immigrate to the United States, call our family immigration lawyers today at (919) 626-3965 to discuss how we can help!

What is Family-Based Immigration?

Family-based immigration in the United States refers to the process by which U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) can sponsor certain family members to immigrate to the U.S. and obtain lawful permanent residence.

Common types of family-based visas in the United States include:

  • Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas: These visas are for the immediate family members of U.S. citizens, including spouses, unmarried children under 21 years old, and parents (if the sponsor is over 21).
  • Family Preference Immigrant Visas: These visas are for more distant relatives of U.S. citizens and some relatives of lawful permanent residents. They are divided into several categories:
    • F1: Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their minor children.
    • F2A: Spouses and unmarried children (under 21) of lawful permanent residents.
    • F2B: Unmarried adult children of lawful permanent residents.
    • F3: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their spouses and children.
    • F4: Siblings of adult U.S. citizens, along with their spouses and children (the U.S. citizen sponsor must be at least 21 years old).
  • Marriage-Based Visas: Marriage-based visas, also known as spouse visas, are immigration pathways that allow a foreign national spouse to enter or remain in a country based on their marriage to a citizen or lawful permanent resident of that country. Here are several forms of marriage-based visas:
    • CR-1 (Conditional Resident) Visas:: For spouses married for less than two years, granting conditional permanent resident status.
    • IR-1 (Immediate Relative) visas:  For spouses married for more than two years, providing unconditional permanent resident status upon entry into the U.S.
    • K-3 Visa (Spouse of a U.S. Citizen): Intended to shorten the physical separation between a foreign citizen and a U.S. citizen spouse, it allows the spouse to enter the U.S. to await processing for the IR-1 or CR-1 visa. However, its use has become less common due to changes in immigration laws.
    • F2A Visa (Spouse of a Lawful Permanent Resident): This visa category is for spouses of lawful permanent residents (green card holders). It allows them to immigrate to the U.S. as a family preference immigrant.
    • K-1 Visa (Fiancé(e) Visa): For foreign nationals engaged to U.S. citizens and planning to marry in the U.S. within 90 days of entry.
    • B-2 Visa (Visitor Visa): Allows temporary visits for spouses intending to stay in the U.S. for short periods, often for tourism or visiting family.

Family Immigration Requirements

In order to immigrate to the United States as a family member, the immigrant must be related, married, or engaged to be married to a United States citizen or a green card holder. This citizenship can be by birth or by naturalization

Relatives who qualify for family immigration include:

  • Spouses
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Fiancés

The process of applying for a family visa requires the citizen or permanent resident to file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. A Form I-485 is also required but can be filed at the same time.

The Important Role of a Family Immigration Lawyer

Throughout this process, the importance of an immigration attorney cannot be overstated. Only a qualified lawyer who has years of focused experience in immigration law can help you apply for the correct visa so that you and your family are granted access into the United States. The legal team at Brown Immigration Law has practiced nothing but immigration law and defense for decades and has gained the highest level of understanding and excellence in the area.

Founding attorney Robert Brown has more than 40 years of experience in immigration litigation and defense and has spent many years working with the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS), including the position of district director in Cleveland, Ohio. Family immigration attorneys Rishi Oza and Aleksandar Cuic have both been selected for inclusion in the lists of Super Lawyers®Rising Stars℠ and handle the firm's business immigration and immigration litigation departments. With our skill and counsel, you will have the best chance of winning your case and gaining legal entry into the country.

Hire a Family Immigration Attorney Immediately

Brown Immigration Law has clients in North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, and around the world. We strive to help every client complete all the necessary paperwork and provide all the information needed to be granted a visa or green card. We want you to be reunited with your family as much as you do and will do everything in our power to make it happen. Our Durham law firm has decades of success and will counsel you step by step as you apply. We also provide aggressive litigation against deportation or removal.

It's vital that you do not wait too long to address your Immigration issues, so call us today at or contact us online to get started.

Family-Based Immigration FAQ:

How long does the family immigration process typically take?

The timeline for the family immigration process can vary depending on several factors, such as the specific visa category, country of origin, and the backlog of applications. Generally, it can take several months to several years for the process to be completed. It's best to consult with a family immigration attorney to get a more accurate estimate based on your specific circumstances.

Can I appeal a denial of a family immigration application?

Yes, in many cases, you can appeal a denial of a family immigration application. The appeals process will depend on the specific immigration agency or court that issued the denial. It's important to carefully review the denial notice and understand the grounds for denial. Working with an experienced North Carolina family immigration attorney is crucial to navigate the appeals process, as there are strict deadlines and requirements that must be followed.

What is the process for sponsoring a family member?

It typically involves filing a petition (Form I-130) with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to establish the relationship between the sponsor and the intending immigrant. Once approved, the applicant goes through a visa process.

Is there a limit on the number of family members that can be sponsored?

Yes, there are limits on the number of family-sponsored immigrants allowed each year, which can result in wait times, especially for certain categories like siblings and adult children of U.S. citizens.

Can family members work or study immediately upon arrival in the U.S.?

In many cases, yes. Once a family member receives a green card or a relevant visa, they often have the right to work and study in the United States.

What if my family member is already in the U.S. illegally? Can I sponsor them?

The process for individuals who are in the U.S. unlawfully is more complicated and might involve leaving the country and applying for a waiver. Each case is unique, and it's advisable to consult an immigration attorney.

Can a green card obtained through family sponsorship lead to citizenship?

Yes, after holding a green card for a certain period, typically five years (three years if married to a U.S. citizen), the holder can apply for U.S. citizenship.

Are there financial requirements for the sponsor?

Yes, sponsors need to show that they have enough income or assets to support the sponsored family member(s) and ensure they won't become public charges.

Can same-sex spouses sponsor each other?

Yes, same-sex spouses have the same rights as opposite-sex spouses in sponsoring each other for immigration purposes.

What happens if the sponsor dies during the immigration process?

If the sponsor dies before the sponsored family member receives a green card, the case may be terminated unless certain conditions are met. A legal representative might be needed to continue the process.

Can someone lose their green card status obtained through family-based immigration?

Yes, a green card can be revoked due to various reasons such as criminal activities, abandonment of U.S. residency, or immigration fraud.

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