- Petitions for parents, children, spouses, and siblings
- Marriage-based Residency
- Fiancée Visas
- Domestic Violence-based Cases (VAWA)
- Child Status Protection Act (CSPA)
- Marriage-based Residency for Same-sex Couples
- Fiancée Visas for Same-Sex Couples
If you are a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), you are eligible to petition USCIS for some of your family members to enter the United States as residents. U.S. Citizens can petition for their spouses, children (any age and married or unmarried), parents, siblings, and fiancé(e)s. The wait lists for each of these categories is different and changes each month. LPR’s may petition for their spouses and unmarried children (regardless of age).
After a petition has been approved and a visa number is available, your family member may be eligible to file for residency. This is different depending on whether the immigrant is inside or outside the U.S. If the person is outside the U.S., then they must undergo consular processing. During this process, several applications are prepared and filed, consular fees are paid, and supporting documents are sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). The process includes an affidavit of support where you or a co-sponsor must demonstrate to immigration that the immigrant family member will not become a financial burden in the U.S.
Under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), if you petitioned for your minor child prior to him/her turning 21 years old but they later aged out due to long processing times, he/she may still be eligible as a minor child because you may be able to “capture” some of the lost processing time.
If the person is inside the U.S., it is very important to contact an attorney and make sure they are eligible for residency before they file an application because otherwise the person could be put into removal / deportation proceedings.
If you are filing for a spouse, it is your burden to prove to USCIS that you have a “good faith marriage.” In other words, you must prove that your marriage was not entered into for the purposes of securing a lawful immigration status and that it is not a fraudulent marriage. You must document the legitimacy of your marriage with as much documentary proof as possible. Types of proof may include pictures together and with family, shared bank accounts and bills, letters from family and friends, insurance together, among other things. After applying, you will likely receive an interview notice requesting you and your spouse go to USCIS together and bring “evidence” of your marriage. In Miami, this happens at the Kendall, Hialeah, or 7th Avenue Field Office. While this may seem like no big deal because your marriage is real, often times couples don’t know what to expect and under-prepare for these interviews. Our office provides detailed lists of the types of evidence that lead to approvals. We also help you prepare for the difficult and personal questions the officer may ask. Moreover, it is your legal right to have an attorney present at your interview to protect your rights and clear up any sources of confusion. Don’t go alone!
If you are a U.S. citizen petitioning for a fiancé or fiancée abroad, you must similarly show that your engagement is real and not just for immigration purposes. If you are approved, you are only given 90 days from the date your fiancé(e) enters the country to get married.
If you have been involved in a relationship where domestic violence occurred, you may still be eligible to self-file for residency under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). You must present evidence of abuse by your spouse or parent. This abuse can be physical or emotional. The type of evidence people submit varies from case to case but often includes psychological evaluations, police reports, affidavits from family/friends, and pictures.