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Family Immigration

Family Immigration Attorney in Milwaukee, WI

A family-based immigration petition is one of the most time-consuming and frequently tricky bureaucratic processes in the United States. Due to numerous possibilities to consider, the process might take months or even years to complete. An immigration process allows members of the family to reunite despite their geographical separation. Getting in touch with an expert family-based immigration attorney is strongly advisable. 

A Milwaukee family-based immigration attorney will provide necessary assistance throughout the process, from filing the required paperwork with the U.S Customs and Immigration Service to guaranteeing the petition is completed correctly. Working with a trusted Wisconsin immigration law firm will save your money and time while avoiding unnecessary delays in your immigration process. To talk with one of our family-based immigration attorneys in Wisconsin, fill out the contact form here or give us a call.

What is Family Immigration?

In the United States, legal immigration is primarily based on family reunification. U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) can sponsor certain family members for a visa that allows them to live permanently in the U.S, commonly known as a green card.

Since the founding of the first colonies in the 17th century, immigration has been based on family ties.  Nevertheless, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1965 explicitly established family ties as an individuals’ important approach to moving to America. Every year, family visas account for around 65 percent of legal immigration.

Who is Eligible for a Family Visa?

There are two classifications of people eligible for family visas:

Immediate Relatives

  • Spouses of U.S. citizens
  • Unmarried children below 21 of U.S. citizens
  • Adopted orphans abroad
  • Orphans to be adopted in the U.S. by U.S. citizens
  • Parents of U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old

Family Preference Categories

  • Unmarried daughters and sons of U.S. citizens, their spouses, and their children
  • Spouses, minor children, and unmarried daughters and sons above 21 of LPRs
  • Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children
  • Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 of age

Other members of the family, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and cousins, cannot be sponsored for immigration by U.S. citizens or LPRs.

What are the Requirements for Family Visas?

In the United States, applications, many screenings, background checks, interviews, costs, and medical examinations take place. The sponsoring relative, who must be over 18 years old (in certain circumstances 21) and a permanent resident of the United States, must first file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for their family member(s). They must prove the validity of their connection and fulfill the financial requirements in this petition.

It is also required to have a written affidavit of support from the sponsor confirming that they would be financially responsible for the application(s). Subsequently, each potential immigrant is subjected to a thorough background and security investigation, including criminal, national security, health-related, and other tests. USCIS also examines all green card applications to ensure that the immigrant will not become a public charge who will require public support.

Once the petition is approved by USCIS, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC), which advises the applicant to fill out specific forms, provide the required documents, and pay the costs. After the NVC receives all required documentation, the applicant is interviewed by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate officer to assess their eligibility. Before the government grants the visa, all candidates must undergo a medical examination by an approved physician and get specific immunizations.

Form I-130 Required Documents

The I-130 petition must be accompanied by supporting documents demonstrating that the sponsor is eligible to submit an I-130 and have an authentic familial relationship with the green card applicant. In most cases, the following documents are required as part of an I-130 petition:

  • Proof that the sponsor is a U.S. citizen or green card holder
  • Proof that a legally valid relationship exists
  • Proof that the relationship is not fraudulent
  • Proof of name changes for the sponsor or the person seeking a green card
  • Proof of nationality of the person seeking a green card


To verify that they are a U.S. citizen, a copy of the sponsor’s U.S. birth certificate is one of the supporting papers necessary for a family-based green card. Don’t worry if you don’t have all of these papers. The good news is that you may begin working on your application right now while collecting your supporting documentation. To get started, our Milwaukee family immigration attorneys can assist you.

Alternative Documents

In the event that a needed document is not accessible, you must submit alternative documents(formally referred to as “secondary evidence”) for USCIS to consider your I-130 petition.

For instance, if your birth certificate isn’t available, you can get a declaration from the issuing government body in your native country stating that your birth certificate isn’t available there. Otherwise, you’ll need to get other paperwork (such as a baptismal certificate or school records) or written declarations from relatives who can certify the circumstances of your birth.

What is the Duration to Get Visas for Eligible Family Members?

Years or even decades may pass before a visa can be issued. It usually depends on the applicant’s connection with their sponsor.  Immediate relatives (spouses and minor children) usually get their green cards faster after satisfying all of the requirements of the lengthy visa procedure. On the other hand, other family members may have to wait years or even decades, depending on their family preference category.

There are significant backlogs in most of the family preference categories due to numerical and per-country constraints, as well as considerable demand. More than 3.9 million of the approximately 4.7 million applicants in the family preference categories were on the waiting list in 2017, with the balance being processed by USCIS. Family members from high-demand nations like China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines must wait years, if not decades, for a green card.

For instance, the U.S. government was still assessing cases of brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens who filed petitions more than 13 years ago as of January 2018.

Your Next Step if Application is Denied

Petitioners who submit I-130 petitions will receive a denial notice from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) (Form I-797). In the event that a petitioner considers that the petition was rejected unfairly. An appeal with an independent government authority such as the Administrative Appeals Office can be submitted within a month or 30 days of receiving the notification. To know how to file an appeal, you need to talk with an expert family immigration attorney.

How to Apply for Adjustment of Status

Only immigrants currently residing in the United States can apply for adjustment of status under the law. Other beneficiaries may need to go through this process at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office. 

Once USCIS has approved Form I-130, the immigrant can start preparing the papers and documents required for the status changes. The USCIS will contact the beneficiary or immigrant to schedule a personal immigration interview after the agency receives the documentation and application.

How to Apply for a Green Card

Once the visa petition has been approved and the chosen date is no longer out-of-date, an immediate family member or beneficiary may apply for a green card. A green card applicant must submit an application for permanent residence – in this case, an immigrant visa application – to be considered. You must send it to the United States Consulate in the immigrant’s home country or residence site.

Thereupon, the National Visa Center at the U.S. Consulate will start distributing the relevant forms to immigrants and requesting any additional documents required. They will assist in gathering the necessary documents and submitting them to the National Visa Center or the United States Consulate to ensure the process’s continuation. They will accomplish this with the support of a reputable family immigration attorney.

The immigrant or beneficiary will then be given instructions on preparing for the required medical examination. A scheduled personal interview with an immigration services representative and a consular official from the United States is also required. Additionally, depending on how an immigrant enters the country, there are various options for getting a green card or visa.

Connect with Our Seasoned Family Immigration Lawyers

Working with an experienced Milwaukee family-based immigration attorney assures that the petition is of the best quality, reducing unnecessary additional expenditures and wasting time. A reputable family-based immigration attorney will take care of all of the essential stages and documentation, allowing you to save both time and money. 

Miller & Miller Immigration Lawyers, LLC will assist you in navigating the complicated process of filing a petition for family-based immigration status. Attempting to do so without legal assistance may be impossible as per the immigration process in the United States. 

We at Miller & Miller Immigration Lawyers, LLC are firm believers that repairing and maintaining family unity is of the utmost importance. Start by consulting one of our family-based immigration attorneys in Wisconsin to get the ball rolling on your case. Our immigration law firm will be at your side throughout the entire process.

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