Immediate Relative Visas in Maryland

If an immediate relative is seeking to apply for permanent residency, a Green Card, within the United States, there are a couple of factors that will affect their application process. For more information on the process, talk to an experienced Maryland family immigration attorney.

According to the government, immediate relatives are spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21 and parents of United States citizen’s residents if the U.S. citizen is over the age of 21. In order to be considered an immediate relative, a person needs to have one of these relationships with a U.S. citizen, not a Green Card Holder.

If there are no major obstacles in a case, like a criminal history or a prior immigration problem, then permanent resident status generally takes six months, but this can vary because it just depends on the workload of the USCIS and the adjudication time can go up and down.

Immediate Relatives Applying for Permanent Residence Status

The application process for Permanent Residence Status for immediate relatives depends on a number of factors. First, it depends on what your relationship is to the U.S. Citizen Petitioner. Second, it depends on whether or not the beneficiary of the application is located in the United States or outside the United States.

If the immediate relative is present within the United States and is otherwise admissible or eligible for a Green Card, meaning that they do not have a criminal record or a prior immigration history that makes them ineligible, the process begins with the filing of a USCIS Form I-130. This application proves the relationship between the beneficiary and the petitioner. At the same time as filing the I-130, they can file the application USCIS Form I-45, which is the application for Legal Permanent Residence. Along with those applications, if the individual is located in the United States, they can also apply for a Work Permit and an application for exemption from all or with approval, which allows them to travel abroad while the application is pending.

If the application is filed for an individual who is abroad then the same I-130 application will be filed, which will prove the relationship between the two parties. Once the I-130 is approved, the file will be sent to the National Visa Center which will get them in contact with the Embassy or Consulate abroad where they will be scheduled for an interview and where they will apply for their Green Card from abroad.

Applying While in the US on a Visitor’s Visa

If an immediate family member is visiting the United States, and while visiting decides they would like to stay and get a Green Card, they need to consult an immediate relative visa attorney. It can become a legally sticky situation very quickly because, for example, if a person has an immediate relative who has entered the United States on a Visitor’s Visa, in order to be granted that Visitor’s Visa they had to demonstrate to the United States Government that they had no intention to remain permanently in the United States.

If they enter on a Visitor’s Visa after making this representation and then quickly apply for an Adjustment of Status application to be a Green Card holder once they are here, that will indicate to the U.S. Government that the individual lied at the time that they were issued the Visitor’s Visa. There are some concerns about intent at the time of entering the country. That may be a complicating factor in some cases, and they will need to consult an Immigration Attorney before applying if this is the case, but in general, immediate family members are eligible to apply for Legal Permanent Residence Status even if they have overstayed another type of immigration status.

Helping Your Family

The first thing to do is to make sure to be aware of all the potential pitfalls in the application, including all of the individual’s grounds of inadmissibility or potential grounds of inadmissibility, like if they have a criminal record or any other prior immigration violations. Also, make sure to understand whether they are indeed eligible to adjust their status, which will be based on what their status is at the time of applying.

Make sure to contact an attorney if you aren’t absolutely certain that the immediate relatives haven’t fallen out of status at some point or if you are not certain that their status is eligible for adjusting status to a Green Card holder in the US. Aside from that, begin collecting documents that prove your relationship to your family member.

In many cases with a parent-child relationship, this is simple because it is usually accomplished through a birth certificate. If a spouse is applying, you may need to start collecting documents that are going to prove your bona fide relationship with your spouse, and a marriage certificate is not enough to do this. It is necessary to show that the couple has a joint life together and have held themselves out in the public as a true couple.

After the Application is Approved

The next step after a family member’s application is approved will depend on whether or not the family member is present in the United States or abroad when it is approved.

If the family member is present in the United States and has filed the I-130, I-485 and all other applications together, they will be issued a Green Card when the application is approved. At that point, they are in a Legal Permanent Resident Status with which they can live legally in the United States for the rest of their life and will be able to Naturalize in the future.

In cases where the family member is abroad, the application or the USCIS Form I-130 gets approved domestically, and upon approval, USCIS will send the file to the National Visa Center. At that point, there will be additional fees, and additional forms to fill out online on the Department of State’s website and submit additional documentary evidence to prove a bona fide relationship with the claimed relatives.

Once the National Visa Center has received all the requested and required documents, they will complete the file and send it to the Consular Post or Embassy abroad. At that point, the immediate relative will be scheduled for an interview at the Consular Post and your relationship with your relative will be revisited. They will interview them about it, and if they have satisfied all the documentary requirements to their satisfaction, they will place you into Green Card status and you can enter the United States as a Green Card holder.

Immediate Relative Visas in Maryland

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