Family-based immigration categories are some of the most important to many people as they allow them to connect with their loved ones separated by distance.
In the family-based system of immigration, three groups of people receive priority: spouses, fiancés and adopted children. U.S. citizens can help their spouses gain permanent residency by filing a visa petition on behalf of their spouse. If the spouse is living outside of the U.S. when the petition receives approval, processing will be completed at his or her U.S. consulate. On the other hand, spouses living inside the U.S. can adjust their status to permanent residency upon approval.
If the couple has been married for less than two years, this status will be conditional. It is important for couples to remember this because they must file a petition to remove the conditions in the 90 days before the spouse concludes his or her second year of conditional residency. The couple must show that that their marriage is legitimate and not carried out for immigration purposes. If the couple neglects to file, the spouse will lose his or her conditional status and could face deportation.
U.S. citizens can file a petition for their fiancés before bringing them to the United States. In order for a fiancé visa to be approved, both parties must show that they are unmarried and have seen each other within the two years before the visa was issued.
In addition, U.S. citizens can adopt children from overseas. The process can be started even before they find a specific child for adoption.
An immigration law attorney may help people navigate the system to bring those closest to them to the country.