Paving the Way to U.S. Citizenship Through Family-Based Immigration
Many residents strive for a better future by bringing close relatives to the US and securing their US citizenship. However, figuring out how to immigrate to New Jersey through a family-based immigration strategy can be difficult and complicated legally.
Our New Jersey immigration attorneys at Andres Mejer Law will guide you through the necessary steps, requirements, and legal procedures to begin this transformative journey toward family reunification and American citizenship, whether you are a U.S. citizen ready to sponsor family members or a hopeful applicant. We will thoroughly assess your family relationship and circumstances to find the best immigration category.
This article discusses family-based immigration’s road to citizenship in New Jersey’s changing immigration landscape.
- Determine Your Eligibility
- U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident Files Visa Petition
- USCIS Makes a Decision on the Visa Petition
- Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status
- Immigrant Visa or Adjustment of Status Approval
How To Obtain Citizenship Through Family-Based Immigration In NJ?
Determining Your Eligibility
First, determine your eligibility for family-based immigration. The relationship between the petitioner (the U.S. citizen or green card holder) and the applicant (the family member seeking immigration benefits) may affect eligibility requirements. We recommend consulting with our New Jersey immigration attorney to assess your circumstances, guide you through qualifying criteria, and help you start the immigration procedure for your family member.
Consider these considerations while determining your NJ family-based immigration eligibility:
Immigration Status of the Petitioner
- U.S. Citizens: U.S. citizens can sponsor immediate relatives and relatives in preference categories, offering more flexibility in family-based immigration.
- Green Card Holders: Legal permanent residents (green card holders) can sponsor certain family members. Green card holders’ sponsored relatives wait longer than U.S. citizens’.
Relationship to the Petitioner
- Immediate Relatives: U.S. Citizens can sponsor their spouses, parents (if the petitioner is 21 or older), and unmarried children under 21. No annual quotas or waiting periods for family relatives. The types of Immediate Relative Visas are:
- IR-1: Spouse of the U.S. citizen
- IR-2: Unmarried child under 21 years of age of a U.S. citizen
- IR-3: Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen
- IR-4: Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen
- IR-5: Parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old
- Preference Categories: US citizens and green card holders can sponsor preference-category family members. These include unmarried adult children (son and daughter), married adult children, and siblings (if the petitioner is U.S. citizen). Due to number limits, preference categories may have wait durations. The types of Family Preference Immigrant Visas are:
- First preference: Adult child over 21 years of age and single
- Second Preference (2A): Spouse of a permanent resident and their children under 21 years of age
- Second Preference (2B): Single adult child of a permanent resident
- Third Preference: Married child of any age
- Fourth Preference: Adult sibling
Marital Status and Age
Age and marital status affect eligibility. Family-sponsored immigration benefits are usually available to spouses and unmarried children under 21. Married adult children and siblings are preference categories and may wait.
Proof of Relationship
You must prove your relationship with the sponsored family member. U.S. immigration law must recognize the relationship. This may include
- birth certificates
- marriage certificates
- and other relevant documents
U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident Files Visa Petition
Sponsoring family members must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Sponsorship requires a Form I-130 each person. Your petition should contain all needed documentation and fees, including verification of your relationship to the beneficiary. Send the form online or by mail.
Green card holders may face waiting lists for specific relatives according to preference categories. Wait times are shorter for Americans.
USCIS Makes a Decision on the Visa Petition
In family-based immigration, USCIS processing determines whether the applicant can proceed with consular processing or an adjustment of status.
USCIS will evaluate your petition. If there are difficulties or they need further evidence, they will contact you. If the petition is authorized, USCIS will forward it to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing.
Issues or delays during this stage can affect the immigration timeframe. To streamline USCIS processing, connect with our New Jersey immigration attorneys.
Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status
The applicant will either petition for adjustment of status in the US or undergo consular procedures at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. The applicant will attend a visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate for consular processing.
The NVC and consulate will mail the immigrant applications, details on where to get the medical exam, and an appointment for an in-person interview.
Immigrant Visa or Adjustment of Status Approval
The immigrant must apply for permanent residency after USCIS approves the visa petition and a visa becomes available. Foreign applicants can enter the U.S. using an immigrant visa. They will receive their green card via mail if they are already in the U.S.
The Role of a New Jersey Immigration Lawyer In Obtaining Citizenship Through Family-Based Immigration
While the path to U.S. citizenship through family-based immigration may be challenging, it is a journey reflecting the core values of family unity and the pursuit of the American dream. Throughout this process, individuals and families come together, navigating the complex immigration laws, regulations, and procedures to achieve a common goal: reuniting with loved ones in the United States and securing a pathway to full citizenship.
Throughout each step of the process, our New Jersey immigration lawyers at Andres Mejer Law are here to guide you and your family toward success. We will help you determine eligibility, submit petitions, undergo background checks, and comply with various requirements. Our family immigration law firm will advise you on the most suitable pathway for family-based immigration, considering your unique circumstances. Contact us now to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about how to obtain citizenship through family-based immigration in New Jersey. We also handle such things as employment immigration, immigration waivers, immigration appeals, and many more.