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California Family-Based Immigration 2024 – All You Need to Know

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California Family-Based Immigration 2024 – All You Need to Know

Family-based immigration is the most popular immigration avenue used by foreign nationals to obtain a green card to live in California and the rest of the country. However, understanding the rules and regulations behind California family-based immigration can be difficult, especially as immigration law is rapidly changing.

From K-visas to marriage-based green cards, there are a variety of California family-based immigration options that can be explored by foreign nationals who are looking to establish or continue their lives in California. By staying informed about key factors of family immigration, such as the categories of family sponsorship, the sponsorship process, priority dates, and the visa bulletin, Californians and those looking to move to the state can enjoy a smooth immigration process.

Understanding the Family Sponsorship Categories

There are two main types of family sponsorship categories: immediate relatives and family preference. The immediate relative category is for people who are spouses of US citizens, children of US citizens who are under 21 and not married, as well as parents of US citizens who are 21 and older. An unlimited number of immediate relative category visas can be given out each year, as there is no cap for this category.

Family preference categories include first (F1), second (F2A, F2B), third (F3), and fourth (F4) preference. There is a capped number of visas that can be awarded for each category each year. An applicant’s priority depends on the relationship they have with their sponsor and whether the sponsor is a lawful permanent resident or a US citizen. For example, F1 visas are for unmarried children over 21 of US citizens. These visas are processed quicker than those in any other family preference category.

How the Family Sponsorship Process Works

The family-based immigration process differs depending on whether the applicant is located in the United States or is applying from outside of the country.

A family member sponsor – also known as the petitioner – will file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This will initiate the family-based immigration process so that the applicant can get a visa and come to the United States. In other cases, they could be granted an Adjustment of Status if they are already in the United States.

After the I-130 is approved, the beneficiary will have to go through the immigrant visa application process, which may involve waiting for a visa number to become available. If they are applying for an immigration visa, they will need to go through their local consulate to have an interview and submit all of their key documents.

If the officer conducting the interview approves their application, they will be granted their travel documents on the day of the interview.

How a Lawyer Can Help You Through the Family-Based Immigration Process

Family-based immigration can be difficult to understand. By working with an experienced and skilled family-based immigration lawyer, applicants can apply for an immigrant visa or Adjustment of Status quickly and effectively.

Legal assistance can also benefit more complex cases, including those that involve marriage visas for undocumented immigrants, as well as those involving clients who have entered the country illegally. A thoughtful immigration lawyer can help you understand all the steps of your application process and how long it will take to get your green card.


Q: What Are My Chances for Acceptance for a Family-Based Green Card in California?

A: If you are applying for a family-based green card from California, then you must go through the Adjustment of Status process. Your chances of acceptance through the Adjustment of Status process are dependent on a variety of factors, including whether you meet all requirements for application, the comprehensiveness and completeness of your application, and the type of family-based immigration status you are applying for.

A dedicated immigration lawyer can assess your case and help you understand your specific chances.

Q: What Are the Two Types of Family-Based Immigrant Visas?

A: The two types of family-based visas are immediate relatives and family preference categories. There is an unlimited number of visas that can be awarded each year to immediate relatives, but the number that can be assigned each year to family preference categories is capped. Therefore, some applications may go through processing for years until a visa is finally granted.

If you are unsure about which is optimal for your situation, a lawyer can assess your case and help you decide which to apply for.

Q: What Are the Rules for Family Based Immigration?

A: Under the rules and regulations of family-based immigration, only certain relatives of US citizens and lawful permanent residents can apply, and they will have to apply under different categories, which either fall under the immediate relatives or family preference categories. The sponsoring relative has to file a Form I-130, which must be approved by USCIS in order for the beneficiary to start their Adjustment of Status or immigration visa application process.

Q: Can I Get a Family-Based Green Card if I Entered the US Illegally?

A: If your spouse entered the US illegally and stayed for less than 180 days, then they can leave the country and apply for a marriage-based green card abroad. If they entered the US illegally and stayed for more than 180 days, then they will have to leave the country and may face bars from returning. However, this rule may be overturned by applying for a provisional waiver so that they can return to the US sooner.

Swiftly and Smoothly Navigating the Family-Based Immigration Process in California

While the family-based immigration process is complex and constantly changing, it doesn’t have to be stressful for applicants. When you work with an experienced legal professional from U.S. Law Center, they can help you understand the immigration option that is optimal for your case and guide you through each step of the application process.

We can help you gather and submit all of your necessary paperwork and meet critical deadlines. Reach out to a lawyer from our team to get started today.

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