Elgin Family Immigration Lawyer

Elgin Family Immigration Lawyer

One of the benefits available under U.S. immigration law is the ability for U.S. citizens or permanent residents to petition to have their qualifying relatives receive permanent residency status. Not all family relationships qualify to obtain such a status through their relatives who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Rather, the law defines which family member qualifies and places them in categories that make a difference in how long one must wait in line to get the status. An experienced Chicago immigration lawyer can help in making sure this is done flawlessly and without delay.

Types of Family-Based Immigration

U.S. immigration law makes it possible for certain foreign-born individuals who are family members of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents to apply and become lawful permanent residents themselves (Green Card holders) based on their specific family relationships with the U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

The family members are categorized into two groups: Immediate Relatives and Preference Immigrant categories.

Green Card for Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizen

If you are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, you can apply for permanent resident status if you satisfy the following eligibility requirements to be classified as an immediate relative.

You are an immediate relative for immigration law purposes if you are:

  • Married to a U.S. citizen
  • An unmarried child of a U.S. citizen and is under 21 years of age or
  • The parent of a U.S. citizen provided the U.S. citizen is 21 years of age or older

If you are in the United States and meet this eligibility criterion to be considered for a Green Card based on your relationship to the U.S. citizen as an immediate relative, you will apply under a process known as “adjustment of status.”

If you are outside the United States and meet the eligibility criteria defined above for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, you will apply under a process known as “consular processing,” which means your application will be filed and processed at the U.S. consulate in your country and the State Department.

Preference Immigrant Relatives

If you are not an immediate family member, then you may still qualify to apply for permanent residency under the preference immigrant categories, which are as follows:

  • First preference – unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens who are 21 years of age and older
  • Second preference – spouses and unmarried children of Green Card holders who are under 21 years of age
  • Second preference – unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents who are 21 years of age and older
  • Third preference – married children of U.S. citizens; and
  • Fourth preference – siblings of U.S. citizens, if the U.S. citizen is at least 21 years

Call a Family Immigration Lawyer for Help

It is not as easy or straightforward to have your qualifying relatives join you or have their status adjusted to that of lawful permanent residents if they are already in the U.S. The law provides specific steps that must be taken and a set of requirements that must be satisfied before your relatives get their approvals. Contact Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C. today for a consultation, and we will explain the whole process to you and help you meet your objectives.


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