Family Immigration

Family Immigration Attorney in Pleasanton, CA

Serving Families in Alameda County & Surrounding Areas

Family Immigration refers to the process of obtaining a visa or green card to live and work in the U.S. based on a close family relationship with a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. It allows certain noncitizens who are family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents to immigrate.

If you want to immigrate to the U.S. through the family-based category, your relative, either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, must sponsor you.

At Dana Michael Ritter, we can help you navigate complex application procedures, ensure proper documentation, and provide legal advice tailored to your circumstances. Our highly experienced attorney can also represent individuals in immigration court or handle any potential complications that may arise during the process. 

The Family Immigration Process

To apply for lawful permanent residency (green card), your sponsor must submit Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) for you at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) center, along with documentation to prove that:

  • They are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (green card holders) of the U.S.
  • They can support you at 125% above the mandated poverty line and submit an Affidavit of Support.
  • You are related to them.

If the alien relative is in the United States they can file an I-485, Adjustment of Status. This will adjust their status from nonimmigrant to immigrant once approved. This process will allow the alien relative to remain in the US while the application for permanent residence is pending.

Once USCIS receives your visa petition from your sponsor, it will be approved or denied. If the petition is approved, USCIS will notify your sponsor.

If the alien relative is not in the United States USCIS then sends the approved visa petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center. The Center will notify you when the visa petition is received and again when an immigrant visa number is available. The immigrant visa numbers are allotted based on the Preference Categories (described below). You can check your visa number allotment status in the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin.

You need to contact the National Visa Center only if:

  • You change your address;
  • There is a change in your situation or that of your sponsor that may affect the eligibility for an immigrant visa for you – such as attaining the age of 21 years, marriage, divorce, or death of a spouse; or
  • If you are already in the U.S. when an immigrant visa number is allotted, you can apply to change your status to a lawful permanent resident. If you are not in the U.S. when an immigrant visa number becomes available, you must complete the processing of your application at the U.S. Consulate that services the area in which you reside.

Preference Categories

Several preference categories exist for allotting immigrant visa numbers based on the sponsor’s status.

  • Immediate Allotment: Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens do not have to wait for an immigrant visa number. Once USCIS approves the application, you are allotted a number immediately. Close relatives include the sponsor’s parents, spouse, and unmarried children below the age of 21 years.
  • First Preference: These include unmarried adult (above 21) sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
  • Second Preference: These include spouses of lawful permanent residents and unmarried sons and daughters of any age.
  • Third Preference: These include married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
  • Fourth Preference: These include brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens.

Sponsors for Family Immigration 

A U.S. citizen can sponsor his or her spouse, unmarried son or daughter of any age, married son or daughter of any age, parent, brother, or sister, provided the sponsor is at least 21. 

A lawful permanent resident can sponsor his or her spouse and unmarried son or daughter of any age. 

Benefits of Lawful Permanent Residency 

Becoming a lawful permanent resident (LPR), also known as obtaining a green card, comes with several benefits. As an LPR, you have the legal right to live and work permanently in the U.S. U.S. laws protect you, and you can access various government services.

With a green card, you have more employment options. You can work for any employer in the United States without needing an additional work visa or sponsorship. This allows for greater flexibility and advancement in your career.

Green card holders can pursue education in the United States without facing international student restrictions, such as limited enrollment or higher tuition fees for non-residents. They also have access to federal financial aid for education.

As an LPR, you become eligible for Social Security benefits after working for a certain period. You can also enroll in Medicare, a health insurance program for people over 65 or those with specific disabilities.

Green card holders can travel freely in and out of the United States without a visa. However, extended stays outside the country may affect eligibility for naturalization or re-entry permits. 

You can also sponsor certain family members for immigration to the United States, including spouses, children, and parents, under specific categories. This can help bring your loved ones to join you in the country.

LPRs have the opportunity to pursue U.S. citizenship through naturalization. After meeting specific requirements, such as residency and English language proficiency, you can apply for naturalization and gain the benefits of being a U.S. citizen, including the right to vote and hold public office.

The benefits of being a lawful permanent resident may vary depending on individual circumstances and immigration status. To understand the specifics of your situation, seek guidance from our immigration attorney at Dana Michael Ritter. 

Client testimonials

    "I have worked on some most difficult and complex work visa cases for our employees through Dana’s office and got them cleared successfully."
    "Dana has been our immigration attorney for the last more than 10 years. She has done an excellent job for us. Her staff is very professional and responsive."
    "Dana has been our immigration lawyer for the past 5 years and has handled numerous H1B and green card applications. She is highly responsive and is surrounded by a pleasant and knowledgeable team."
    "Our company has been using Dana Law and her team of experienced attorneys for our immigration needs, almost like forever!!!"
    "They are very knowledgeable, reliable, personable, good listeners and supportive. We value their advice as we feel it is fair, unbiased, true and without intent to extract business."
    "I am glad I got all my immigration issues resolved on time with the help of Dana and her teams excellent work."
    "Dana is an outstanding attorney with a great deal of knowledge in the field of Immigration Law."
    "Dana is very much accessible whenever I have a question. She patiently listens to all my queries and answers all of them."

Why work with us

  • Excellent Customer Service
    The focus of the firm is to provide quality legal services and excellent customer care at costs that are both reasonable and competitive. Our goal is to guide and provide a seamless environment between client and attorney throughout the immigration process.
  • Accessibility
    We offer an open, accessible law firm, willing to represent your interests ethically, zealously and expeditiously.
  • Decades of Experience

    For over 28 years, Dana Ritter has successfully represented corporations, businesses and individual clients throughout the United States and abroad in many foreign countries

  • Free Consultation

    Our firm is happy to schedule a free consultation or conference call to address your immigration needs.

Contact Us

We’re Ready to Assist Your Immigration Needs
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