Cleveland, Ohio Family Immigration and Citizenship Attorney

United States citizens and lawful permanent residents (“LPR’s” or “green card holders”) to file for their family members to get their “green cards.”   The process itself is straightforward.  However, no one case is the same and there are pitfalls and roadblocks throughout. The best way to avoid issues that could stall bringing your family member to the States or getting them the appropriate status is to obtain help from an experienced family-based visa immigration attorney at the beginning.

Please contact Hammond Law Group, LLC, today to learn what our family-based immigration lawyers can do to help you and your family. We have helped thousands of individuals throughout the United States and around the world obtain immigrant visas from the consulates and green cards for their spouses, parents, children, siblings and fiancés.  Our home office is located in Cincinnati and we have strategically placed offices in Cleveland, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland.   We are therefore capable of responding to and quickly resolving complex family-based immigration issues throughout the country.

Ohio Marriage Visas and Green Cards

If you are a United States citizen, you can petition for your spouse.  As a citizen your spouse is considered “immediate relative.”  These cases get different treatment from USCIS and the consulates abroad.  The reason is these cases are not subject to the annual limitation of visas for family members.  So if USCIS approves the visa petition, then the spouse can immediately apply to adjust status (if in the U.S. and eligible).  This is usually done concurrently and is called a one-step adjustment of status case.  If the spouse is abroad, then he or she can immediately apply to the Department of State and the National Visa Center for an immigrant visa (which ends up getting the spouse their green card upon arrival to the U.S.).

For spouses of lawful permanent residents, the track is a bit different in that these cases are not “immediate relative” cases.  Therefore, these cases are subject to the quota and that quota does cause a backlog sometimes.  This means that the spouse cannot immediately file for their immigrant visa abroad or to adjust their status.  It means they will have to wait a bit.

Green Cards for Parents and Children under 21 of U.S. Citizens

These cases are “immediate relative” cases.  These cases are handled just like marriage cases where the petitioner is a U.S. citizen.  If the person is in the U.S. and eligible to adjust status, then they can concurrently file the adjustment of status application.  If the beneficiary is abroad, they can immediately file for the immigrant visa.

Green Cards for all Other Relationships

Citizens may file for their unmarried sons or daughters who are over 21 years of age.  Citizens may file for their married sons or daughters.  Citizens may also file for their brothers and sisters.  Lawful permanent residents (LPR’s) may file for their children and their unmarried sons or daughters.  All of these people can get green cards through the above relationships.

Once USCIS approves the visa petition, the beneficiary will need to wait for their priority date (or place in line) to become “current.”  This is due to the quota of visas for each preference category and the country from which the beneficiary originates or is charged to.  Just because there is a wait time, anyone eligible should file.  You can’t get to the front of the line until you get in line.  As well, the LPR can become a citizen and “upgrade” the petition which can move the person farther ahead in the line.

As noted above, many green card holders want their citizenship.  This process is called naturalization and requires filing with USCIS the Form N-400 and all the supporting documents.  It also requires appearing at the USCIS office for an examination.  The USCIS officers will ensure the applicant is eligible for citizenship and if approved, the applicant will get sworn in and receive their certificate.  This can be helpful in speeding along the process for other family members.

The immigration attorneys at Hammond Law Group, LLC, can start the process now to obtain a family-based visa or adjustment of status case for your relative. If your relative is in the U.S. there are two pathways to permanent resident status.  Which one we use will depend on how your relative entered the U.S. (either after having been inspected or waved through a checkpoint or having crossed unlawfully or remains here after having been ordered deported).  If your relative is living abroad then our team of immigration lawyers usually recommend consular processing; having the relative file for a visa and attend a consular interview and then enter the U.S. using that visa.  We’re here to help figure out the best pathway to unite your family in the U.S.  Give us a call and let us do what we do best.