The above are just a few of the processes that fall under family based immigration.  If you have any questions or wish to discuss your particular circumstances, we encourage you to contact Astera Law Group to schedule a free consultation.  

We look forward to hearing from you!

"The family is one of nature's masterpieces. "

- george santayana


relative petition 

The relative petition is the first step in the family based immigration process leading to a green card or lawful permanent resident status.  A relative petition, also known as Form I-130, is the petition filed by a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident on behalf of their family member.  U.S. Citizens may petition for their immediate relatives which consist of spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents.  

The designation immediate relative means that an immigrant visa is immediately available and no quotas are applicable.  In practical terms that means that an immediate relative of a U.S. Citizen only waits the processing time of the I-130 and I-485 or immigrant visa processing to progress through the entire green card process.

U.S. Citizens may also petition for additional relatives under preference categories, including their children over the age of 21, married sons and daughters and brothers and sisters.

All petitions filed by Lawful Permanent Residents fall under preference categories.  Lawful Permanent Residents may petition for their spouses, children under 21, and unmarried children over 21.

Preference categories are subject to quotas and long visa wait times.  In practical terms that means that after an I-130 is approved, a preference category relative must wait additional time, sometimes years, in order to progress to either the adjustment of status or immigrant visa process.

Sometimes it is uncontrollable whether you are dealing with an immediate relative case or a preference category case.  But other times, you may be able to develop a strategy to utilize the category that is most advantageous to you.  We encourage you to contact Astera Law Group so that we can guide you on your immigration journey.

As of July 1, 2013, the relative petition process is available to same-sex spouses married in a state where same-sex marriage is legal.

Family based immigration is one of the most common and highly used options for individuals to immigrate to the United States.  It is based on familial relationships with U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents, including spouses, children, parents, adult children, fiances/fiancees, brothers and sisters.  Even as simple as that sounds, family based immigration processes can be complicated and involve many considerations and limitations.  The descriptions below are only a brief overview of some of the family based processes.  We encourage you to contact our office to schedule a free consultation to get additional information and discuss the details of your individual circumstances.


fiance petition

The fiance/fiancee petition is the petition filed by a U.S. Citizen on behalf of their foreign national fiance/fiancee.  If you're a U.S. Citizen who has a foreign national fiance/fiancee that you want to bring to the U.S. to marry, the Fiance Petition may be a good option for you.

Certain requirements of the Fiance Petition process include the U.S. Citizen and foreign national must have met in person within two years of the petition being filed, the petition is filed in the U.S. and the visa is only issued at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy.

The Fiance Petition, also known as a K-1 Petition or K-1 visa, is filed in the United States with USCIS. Upon approval, the petition process transfers to the Department of State and is finalized with an in-person interview of the foreign national fiance/fiancee at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate having jurisdiction over where the foreign national fiance/fiancee resides.

Upon approval, the K-1 fiance visa allows the foreign national to travel to the U.S. to marry their U.S. Citizen within 90 days of entry and then submit applications for adjustment of status (Form I-485) to complete the permanent resident process.

If you have questions about the K-1, Fiance Petition process, we encourage you to contact Astera Law Group for more information.



A bona fide marriage to a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident is a well known pathway to a green card or lawful permanent residence.  Conditional permanent residence is granted to an individual who, at the time of approval, has been married to their U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse less than two years.  Conditional status is granted for a two-year period.

Prior to the expiration of the two year conditional period, the Petition to Remove Conditions, or Form I-751, is filed to attest that the marriage remains in tact or if the marriage has ended that the marriage was originally entered into for bona fide reasons.  

The removal of the conditions provision was implemented to combat marriage fraud and its purpose is to ensure that marriages to U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents are not entered into for the purpose of evading immigration laws.  

There are several categories under which you may file Form I-751: joint petition, hardship, divorced, to name a few.  If applicable, you may file under more than one category.  

At Astera Law Group, we always recommend that you consult with experienced immigration attorneys when preparing to file your Form I-751, regardless of the category under which you file.  The I-751 process is another opportunity for USCIS to scrutinize your relationship and having received conditional permanent residence is not an indication that your Form I-751 will be approved without question.

If you have questions about the I-751 process or would like guidance during the process, we encourage you to contact Astera Law Group.