Chicago Family Immigration Lawyer

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Chicago Family Immigration Lawyer

Going through the U.S. immigration system to obtain legal status for a qualifying family member is a challenging experience that can often be frustrating. At Kriezelman Burton & Associates, we have experienced immigration attorneys who assist clients in the Chicago area. We are based in Chicago, but we also help clients in Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan who are looking for immigration benefits for themselves or for their family members. 

Family immigration is done through a complicated process that is divided into two broad categories, which are further subdivided into several subcategories.

Immediate Family Members

Under U.S. immigration laws, an immediate relative is an individual who has a close family relationship with a U.S. citizen, such as a spouse, child who is under the age of 21, or parent if the US citizen is over the age of 21.

This is the best category to immigrate under because the visa (green card) is immediately processed, unlike other categories where one must sometimes wait several years before their green card is approved. This is because there is a backlog of immigration cases in all other categories owing to the limit the law places on how many green cards can be issued annually in those other categories. For immediate family members, however, there is no limit; therefore, a visa is always immediately available once a petition filed by the US family member is approved.

Preference Family Category

If a family member is not an immediate relative, then they may qualify to obtain a green card in the second category, which U.S. immigration law allows its family members to migrate to the US. This category is the preference category and is available for family relations in the following situations:

  • First preference (F1) – unmarried children of U.S. citizens who are over 21 years
  • Second preference (F2A) – spouses and unmarried children of green card holders who are under the age of 21
  • Second preference (F2B) – unmarried sons and daughters of green card holders who are 21 years of age and older,
  • Third preference (F3) – married children of U.S. citizens; and
  • Fourth preference (F4) – siblings of U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old

Petitioning for a Relative and Application Process

If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (green card holder) and have a close relative who meets the above criteria, then you can petition for them to be given a green card of their own. This is done by filing an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In the immediate category, this petition can be concurrently filed with an I-485 Application to Register Permanent Resident Status or Adjust Status. 

In the preference category, the I-130 petition must be filed first, and you must have it adjudicated and approved before you or your relative can file the I-485 application if you or your relative is in the United States. If the relative is outside the United States or needs to complete the green card application outside the US, then the green card application will be made at a US consulate in the country where the relative lives or wishes to complete the green card application process.

If you wish to obtain a family-based green card and are in the Chicago area, contact us today and schedule a consultation. We are based in Chicago but also offer services in Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan. We handle all types of immigration cases.