Family Immigration Lawyer in San Jose, CA, Reuniting Families Through Immigration Law
The United States immigration system is in constant flux as laws are being passed and subsequently fought over with every government election. While previously, most of the focus had been on illegal immigration, increasingly, there have been a lot of legal arguments about drastically limiting the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country. It can be difficult for ordinary citizens residing in the U.S. to keep track of the changing laws. And this is unfortunate because legal immigration services are meant to bring people together, reunite families and loved ones, and make our communities whole.
Ideally, the process of seeing a spouse, children, or parents migrate to America to be with a relative who is a legal permanent resident would be simple and straightforward. However, that is simply not the case. For permanent residents looking into family immigration options for a foreign national, it is highly advisable that they speak to immigration lawyers to help. With the assistance of experienced immigration attorneys, one may better determine which immigration services they and their family members are eligible for and then have an easier time filing their application.
The Yew Immigration Law Group is solely dedicated to the practice and study of immigration laws in the United States. Each individual case is unique, and our immigration lawyer will review the various factors for your application in hopes of a better chance of seeing your filing approved and your family members reunited with you in your chosen country.
Our San Jose immigration law firm takes great pride in our ability to help reunite families. If you are already a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR or “green card” holder), you may sponsor your spouse, immediate relatives, and other family members through the following family-based immigrant visas.
While our law firm is located in San Jose, we provide legal representation to clients across the state of California, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Silicon Valley. To learn more about green cards, family sponsorship, and the necessity of an adjustment of status, contact our office to schedule your confidential consultation today.
What Are the Main Differences Between the Types of Family Immigration Visas?
There are two groups of family-based immigration visa categories – immediate relatives, for whom there are unlimited visas (e.g., no annual quota) that are immediately available, and preference-based relatives, for which there are four preference categories as well as visa limitations (quotas) each fiscal year.
How Are Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas (Unlimited) Defined?
These visa types are based on a close family relationship with a U.S. citizen described as an immediate relative (IR). The number of immigrants in these categories is not limited to each fiscal year.
According to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), the immediate relative visa types include:
- IR-1: The spouse of a U.S. citizen.
- IR-2: A U.S. citizen’s unmarried children (son or daughter) under 21 years of age.
- IR-3: An orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen.
- IR-4: An orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen.
- IR-5: A parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old.
- K-1: A fiancé visa.
Note that immediate relatives do not have derivative beneficiaries. Thus, their spouses and/or children must have petitions filed for them separately and must independently qualify for those benefits.
To petition for alien relative immigration into America, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents may file an I-130 petition to the USCIS. This application will attempt to prove the relationship between the lawful permanent resident and the alien relative. If the form provides proof that the petitioner and the family member are and there is no other legal matter to consider which may stand in the way of the applicant, then the USCIS will approve the Visa application. At this point, the USCIS will forward the form and all relevant information to the National Visa Center (NVC) located in Portsmouth, NH, for processing.
If the filing meets the cut-off date, then the National Visa Center will collect all relevant paperwork, send an invoice for application fees, and secure this documentation until an interview is scheduled with a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
At various stages during this process, the government may request additional evidence be provided. If you are petitioning for the immigration of family members, you must be willing to provide as much information as is requested if you hope to see your loved one legally enter the United States. The decision as to whether individuals planning to immigrate are eligible to do so may depend on the documentation provided at the government’s request, so please ensure that you are willing to answer every question and supply all important documentation.
If all required criteria are met, eventually, the National Visa Center and the USCIS will issue a green card to the foreign national. The amount of time that this takes may depend on a number of factors.
In hopes of reaching a satisfactory conclusion in a timely manner, it is advisable to hire the legal services of a family immigration lawyer. Our law firm looks to serve clients with a number of citizenship and immigration services, including the difficult and time-demanding process of family-based immigration. Though it is possible to obtain green cards without the representation of attorneys, the truth of the matter is that success means you are reunited with your family members, whereas a denied filing could prevent your loved ones from living with you in the U.S. While no results can be guaranteed, good or bad, the immigration attorney of Yew Immigration Law Group has prior results that should inspire confidence. If you have immediate family members hoping to receive their green cards, schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer today to discuss your unique situation.
What Are Family Preference Immigrant Visas (Limited)?
These visa types are for specific, more distant family relationships with a United States citizen and some specified relationships with an LPR. There are fiscal year numerical limitations on family preference immigrants.
Generally speaking, the USCIS limits the total number of family-preference immigrant visas to a cap of approximately 226,000 a year. These are issued in order of ‘preference,’ with a first preference relative petition getting priority. Closer, more immediate family members do not have to wait and may be eligible for immediate relative visa types.
The family preference categories (along with approximate visa quotas per fiscal year) are:
- Family first preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their minor children, if any (23,400).
- Family second preference (F2): Spouses (husband or wife), minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (ages 21 and over) of LPRs. At least 77% of all visas available for this category will go to spouses and children; the remainder is allocated to unmarried sons and daughters (114,200).
- Family third preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children (23,400).
- Family fourth preference (F4): Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age (65,000).
Grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and cousins cannot sponsor a relative for immigration. Unmarried children of LPRs (F2: family second preference) will lose the petition if, while it is pending, they get married, as there is no visa category for married children of LPRs.
Is it Possible to Change Visa Categories?
A beneficiary may be able to change his or her visa category and, as a result, speed up or slow down his or her wait time. This may take place when there is a change in the beneficiary’s marital status, when a child “ages out” (i.e., turns 21), or when there is a change in the petitioner’s immigration status.
Under limited circumstances, the beneficiary may retain the original priority date. For more details on various scenarios, please contact our San Jose office to speak with a lawyer knowledgeable in family immigration law.
How Long Does the Visa Application Process Usually Take in California?
The process tries to go in order of priority date – that is, in the order in which the I-130 petition is filed with the government. The Department of State publishes a monthly Visa Bulletin, which provides an updated waiting list for those with a Visa number so that they have some idea of how long they must wait before an interview or potentially being approved.
The length of time it takes for a foreign national to obtain a green card and be allowed to enter the U.S. legally varies wildly, depending on the type of visa, the current backlog, and any complications with the sponsor. On the short end of things, the process may take two to four weeks in total. Some visas may be issued immediately after the completion of the interview. Other applicants, meanwhile, such as those applying for a U-visa or an R-1, may be forced to wait for closer to a year in total.
What Other Immigration Services Does Our Legal Team Provide?
In addition to the immigration matters of family sponsorship, our law firm can serve clients with other needs related to immigration law.
Our attorney may be able to provide legal representation in the following:
- Adjustment of status. Some individuals come to the U.S. and are only given temporary status, either through work or study. With an adjustment of status, it is possible to become a lawful permanent resident of the USA. Our law firm has experience helping clients adjust their status and acquire permanent residency.
- Adoption via immigration, also known as intercountry adoption, is where children from a foreign country may become the adopted child of a U.S. citizen via international treaties. Our legal team will help ensure that all international requirements are being met so that the adoption process may go more smoothly. Adopted children are then given new rights in the United States.
- Applying for a green card. Green card holders are granted permanent residence status in the USA. Many requirements must be met, and the applicant may have a long wait before they are approved for this adjustment of status and then issued their green card.
- Asylum seekers. The United States of America offers asylum and refuge to those fleeing war, genocide, famine, and a credible threat of persecution based on their gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, and social group status. Not everyone who seeks asylum is granted it, however, and one must make a compelling case to the USCIS. With the help of our attorney and her legal staff, we feel confident we can improve your chances of receiving the asylum protection that you need.
- Deportation challenges. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acts boldly, rounding up immigrants and putting them through removal proceedings which are traumatizing for both the individual being deported and any family member who loves and depends on them. Our firm will attempt to provide a defense against deportation, saving an individual from being returned to their home country of origin.
- Marriage and divorce and how both affect naturalization. As with marriage, divorce affects a person’s immigration status in the U.S. We know that a qualifying immigrant who entered a marriage with a U.S. citizen gains a green card through marriage. But what happens after a divorce? We can help you through both the happy and sad circumstances where marriage and immigration meet.
- Nonimmigrant visa: There are visas available for those who wish to enter the U.S. for the specific purpose of pursuing an education as an international student or as a temporary worker of exceptional skill.
Does Reading this Website Constitute an Attorney-Client Relationship?
No. While there is an effort to provide and maintain correct information for any prospective new client visiting our law firm online, the website’s information is not intended to be taken as legal advice between the attorney and any individual. Materials and information on this website are for general information purposes only.
If you have questions or concerns about your case, please contact your lawyers by phone and then find a way to meet and discuss your legal matter. Nothing on this site should be taken as the same thing as hiring the service of an attorney. Viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.
Our law firm has been providing personalized service to individuals with immigration cases for years, and we would be proud to work with you in the process of applying and petitioning for a family member to obtain a green card legally. Please schedule a consultation today by calling our San Jose law office.
Schedule a Consultation to Begin the Attorney-Client Relationship
If you’re looking for help in the matter of family sponsorship or looking to change your status, citizenship, and immigration services, contact a family immigration lawyer at the Yew Immigration Law Group in San Jose, CA. While other attorneys commonly spread out their interests, our firm is solely focused on the requirements, objections, questions, and concerns related to immigration in the United States.
While our law office is based out of San Jose, we provide legal service to clients across the state of California, including localities such as Fremont, Santa Cruz, Alameda County, Santa Clara County, the San Francisco Bay Area, and locations surrounding Silicon Valley.
Family immigration lawyer Alison Yew has decades of experience in the law and has dedicated her career to helping clients through the complicated process of immigration law. She is a respected legal mind and a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the California State Bar Association. Attorney Yew and her legal staff have a high standard of professionalism and believe in providing personalized service to every new client who walks through our office doors. While no results can be guaranteed in any legal matter, Yew Immigration Law Group has a track record of success, so you should feel confident knowing that your individual case is in capable hands and that your rights are being properly looked after.
To see if you may qualify to petition for a family member (or be petitioned by a relative in the U.S.), please contact our office online or by phone at (408) 645-6395 to schedule your initial case evaluation.