August 22, 2019

Family-Based Immigration: An Introduction to Concepts and Procedures

Family-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visas are one of the major ways foreign nationals enter, remain, and obtain permanent residence in the United States. The policy behind family-based visas is family reunification. All family-based immigrant visas require a petition to be filed in the United States, proving eligibility for the benefit.

  • There are sponsor-based family immigrant visas whereby the petition is only filed by a qualifying family sponsor or petitioner. Such sponsor-based applications involve spouses, parents, children, and siblings of U.S. citizens, and spouses and children of lawful permanent residents (LPRs).
  • There are some petitions that do not necessarily require a family sponsor but require a qualifying family relationship to be eligible for this “self-petition.” Such petitions would involve those exposed to domestic violence who qualify under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
  • Widowers and other qualified family members of deceased petitioners may be eligible as self-petitioners as well.

Whether sponsor-based or self-based, the petition must first be filed and approved. A visa must be available before the foreign national can obtain a visa or adjust status to permanent residence. At this stage, the foreign national applicant must meet certain admissibility requirements to enter on a visa or to obtain permanent residence in the United States, unless waived under certain circumstances. One of these admissibility requirements, public charge, is applicable to all family-based immigrant applications and requires the submission of an affidavit of support. After obtaining permanent residence, some family members are subject to a two-year condition and must take proactive measures in the future to maintain their residence in the United States.

If you are a family law or immigration law practitioner, consider attending this short, 90-minute presentation to get the fundamentals of family-based immigration on February 6, 2012. The program, Family-Based Immigration: An Introduction to Concepts and Procedures, will cover:

  • Qualifying relationships to sponsor a family member
  • The process for those family members sponsored
  • The Affidavit of Support requirement
  • Other options to family sponsorship
  • Conditional Residence Status
  • K-1 Fiancé Visas
  • The concept of admissibility

This program is based on a chapter from the new CBA-CLE book, Immigration Law for the Colorado Practitioner. This indispensable reference, written with the Colorado lawyer in mind, covers a wide range of practice issues, providing the orientation, analysis, and authorities for immigration lawyers and lawyers whose practice overlaps with immigration law. Click here for more information about the book.

A free portion of the Family-Sponsored Immigration chapter, written by the program’s faculty, Catherine O. Brown, is available below for your reference, along with details about the program.

Family-Sponsored Immigration Chapter Segment

CLE Program: Family-Based Immigration – An Introduction to Concepts and Procedures

This CLE presentation will take place on Monday, February 6. Participants may attend live in our classroom or watch the live webcast.

If you can’t make the live program or webcast, the program will also be available as a homestudy in two formats: video on-demand and mp3 download.

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