Family/Marriage Based Permanent Residency

Below are several options for immigrating to the U.S. based on a family relationship.

Permanent Residency through Marriage
Immigrating from outside the US
Family Immigration
Unlawful Presence Waiver

Permanent Residency through Marriage

Obtaining permanent residency or green card status through marriage is one of the most common ways of gaining legal residency in the United States. Both heterosexual and same-sex marriages are recognized by Immigration.

Marriage based immigration requires the U.S. citizen spouse to file an immigrant petition on behalf of his or her foreign spouse. Upon approval of the immigrant petition, the immigrating spouse will either apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate outside the U.S. or, if eligible, submit an application for permanent residency while in the U.S.

If applying in the United States, Immigration will require both spouses to appear for an in-person interview at a local USCIS Immigration Office. At the time of interview, the burden is on the married couple to prove to the Immigration Officer that their marriage is real.

Simply producing a marriage certificate and photos is not enough to meet Immigration’s standard of an authentic or bona fide marriage. USCIS Officers often become suspicious of a marriage, even though the marriage is real, due to a lack of evidence and/or confusing testimony. If the married couple fails to meet the evidentiary burden at the interview, a second, more intense, interview will be scheduled when the spouses will be interrogated separately.

Our firm has many years of experience in marriage based immigration. At the initial consultation we identify potential “red flags” that might result in a second interview, as well as find inadmissibility issues, such as criminal convictions or prior immigration violations that will require a waiver of inadmissibility.

In addition to preparing and filing all of the required USCIS forms, we provide a “mock immigration interview” and an attorney will accompany the couple to the USCIS interview to safe guard their rights, aid in presenting the evidence of marriage and explain any legal issues to the Immigration Officer.

If the marriage is less than two years old at the time of green card issuance, the permanent residency will be conditional. After two years of conditional resident status the couple can remove the conditions of residence with the filing of a joint petition to remove the conditions.

It is important to note that even if the marriage has ended during the two year conditional period, the conditions of residency may still be removed provided the conditional resident can prove the marriage was entered into in good faith and not solely to obtain a green card.

Immigrating from outside the us

U.S. Citizens are eligible to provide Permanent Residency or “Green Card” sponsorship for their spouse, parents, children and siblings currently living outside the United States. U.S. Permanent Residents (Green Card Holders) can also file family based Permanent Residency Petitions, but only for their spouse and unmarried children.

We offer the full range of legal services for consular permanent resident processing. Analyzing the various foreign birth and marriage documents that will evidence the qualifying family relationship to ensure the documents meet both U.S. Immigration and U.S. State Department regulatory requirements.

  • Preparation and submission of USCIS Immigrant Petition Forms and U.S. Department of State Visa Forms.
  • Monthly monitoring of the U.S. State Department’s Visa Bulletin to make sure the immigrating family member can take advantage of a permanent residency visa when it first becomes available.
  • Preparation of the required Affidavit of Support and evaluation of the sponsoring family member’s financial ability to meet the required U.S. poverty guidelines for supporting their immigrating relatives in the U.S.
  • Coordinating with the National Visa Center in the collection of all civil documents for presentation at the appropriate U.S. Consulate abroad, such as police clearance certificates, photos and birth and marriage documents.
  • Preparing the immigrating family member for their Immigrant Visa interview in front of a U.S. Consular Officer, including providing instructions on obtaining the required medical exam and other items required at the consular interview.
  • Corresponding with the appropriate U.S. Consulate about problematic cases and requests for additional evidence as well as preparing legal arguments for the U.S. Department of State’s Advisory Office if a case is denied.
  • If the immigrating family member is found ineligible for permanent residency we provide legal services in preparing and submitting a waiver of such ineligibility.

Family Immigration

Roten Immigration Law represents individuals administratively before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with various family-based petitions and related applications including:

  • Petitions for Alien Relatives.
  • Applications to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status for those eligible for a “green card.”
  • Application for waivers of certain grounds of inadmissibility, if applicable.
  • Applications for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of designated countries.

Often, the road to obtaining lawful immigration status in the United States can be a long and arduous process. Roten Immigration Law offers legal counsel every step of the way, helping our clients navigate the complicated world of immigration law.

Unlawful Presence waiver

Individuals are often ineligible for permanent residency due to various immigration violations. A common ground of ineligibility or inadmissibility is unlawful presence in the U.S. A person who has been present in the U.S. without legal status is generally unable to apply for permanent residency in the U.S. and will have to apply at the U.S. Consulate in their home country.

Once the person departs the U.S. he or she will be barred from returning. If the individual has been in the U.S. for more than six months, but less than a year, the bar is three years. If the person has been unlawfully present for more than one year, the bar is ten years.

Immigration will forgive unlawful presence and waive inadmissibility, if the individual can demonstrate that their U.S. citizen or green card holding spouse or parent will suffer extreme hardship, if the individual is unable to return to the U.S. Immigration considers several factors in determining whether extreme hardship exists, which include, but are not limited to, medical problems, psychological disorders, economic hardship, strong family ties to the U.S., compromised ability to care for small children, and inability to relocate to their relative’s home country.

Our firm has extensive knowledge and know-how in preparing and filing unlawful presence waivers with Immigration. We thoroughly interview our clients to identify and document all possible hardship factors. If necessary, we will refer clients to outside psychologists for evaluation to determine if psychological disorders exist that would cause the spouse or parent to suffer greater hardship than a normal person.