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Family Visa

Family Visa

There are different types of family group visas, which allow the spouses, parents, children and siblings of citizens, and the spouses and children of residents to enter the United States.


Depending on the type of situation and the characteristics of each family, there are different options to apply.

I-130 FORM

(visa petition for spouses, children, parents or siblings)

The first step in the process to obtain a green card for spouses, children, parents or siblings is to file Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a component of the United States Department of Homeland Security.


The main purpose of this form is to establish the real existence of a family relationship between the sponsor and the applicant for the green card.

In the context of the Marriage Visa, the form must be submitted to verify that it is legally valid (based on a marriage certificate). To do this, the application must be supported by proof of the bona fides of the marriages, such as joint bank accounts, common insurance documents, and photos of the marriage. All this is to show that the marriage is real.


(adjustment of status application or consular processing of immigrant visa application)

The next step in the process to obtain the family green card after filing the I-130 (petition for alien relative) is the filing of 

the I-485 (adjustment of status) or consular processing of the immigrant visa.


The primary purpose of the I-485 or the immigrant visa petition is to prove that the foreign spouse is eligible for permanent residence in the United States.


In some instances, the immediate family members of a US citizen (spouse, minor child or parent of adult US citizen) physically present in the United States can file their I-485 petition together with the I-130, as well as certain other classes of immigrants who have a visa immediately available to them and are in valid immigration status at the time of filing. 


Most categories, however, require that you first establish your eligibility for the immigrant category by obtaining an approved petition, before you are allowed to process Form I-485. 


Non-immediate family members or US citizens and family members of permanent residents must be in lawful immigration status in the US in order to file the I-485.


Conditional green cards are issued to certain residents who obtained their card through marriage if they were married for less than two years at the time of approval. Before its expiration, Form I-751 must be filed to remove the residency conditions.

Why? Essentially, because USCIS wants to ensure that the marriage remains legitimate and that no one involved agreed to the marriage simply to obtain lawful permanent residence.


If the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines that the marriage is legitimate, then the person receives a permanent, non-conditional, residence card valid for 10 years. Cards need to be renewed 6 months before they expire. However, your conditional residence status does not expire.


The K-1 Visa allows a person who is living in another country to enter the United States to marry his or her fiancé who is living in the United States. The marriage has to occur within 90 days of arrival.


It is important to realize that all documents for visa processing must be translated into English. The consular officer may request additional information such as trips, photographs, or other evidence to ensure that the relationship with the fiancé is real. Also, the officer will request clear, legible, and original documents to validate the information. 

Original certificates are always returned. 

Employment-Based Visas


EB-1 visas (first preference category) apply to individuals who have extraordinary abilities, are outstanding researchers or professors, or show evidence of some sustained national or international acclaim.  


Individuals under EB-1 eligibility typically experience the quickest application process for a green card.

They are divided into the following:

  • EB-1A - Extraordinary abilities in the arts, sciences, education, business, and athletics

  • EB-1B - Outstanding professors and researchers

  • EB-1C - Multinational executives or managers

EB-1A visas do not require an employer petitioner. Therefore, they are considered self-petitions.


This category is for those who have advanced degrees or a National Interest Waiver.

Advanced degrees are considered to be a U.S. master’s degree or higher (or the foreign equivalent), or a US bachelor’s degree plus an additional 5 years of experience within the specialty. A PERM/Labor Certification is required.

A National Interest Waiver (NIW) is for those who request that the PERM/Labor Certification (stage 1 of the green card process steps) be waived because it is in the interest of the United States. 


The EB-3 Visa is for skilled workers, professionals, or other workers.

Skilled workers must be able to demonstrate at least 2 years of job experience or training; professionals must possess a US bachelors degree or foreign degree equivalent and other workers (unskilled workers) must be capable of performing unskilled labor that is not of a temporary or seasonal nature.

It is the third preference category for those who have jobs that cannot apply to the first two categories. For each of these worker categories, the work performed must be one of which there are not enough qualified workers already available in the United States. Like EB-2s, a PERM/Labor Certification is required to test whether there are any able, willing, available, and qualified US workers for the position to be offered to the foreign national. the employer is also required to offer at least the prevailing wage for the position, as determined by the Department of Labor, based on the job requirements and location of employment.

Investor Visa

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is available to those immigrants who have invested or are in the process of investing, at least $1.8 million in a new commercial enterprise employing at least 10 full-time US workers. 


Individuals who invest in a “targeted employment area” (TEA) are only required to invest a minimum of $900,000. Immigrant investors can also invest $900,000 in a qualified and approved Regional Center.  


The EB-5 Visa for investors grants initially a Conditional Residence Card for a period of two years to the investor and the immediate family.

They can live, work and study anywhere in the country and there are no age, education or English language requirements.

I-130 Form
I-485 Form
I-751 Application
K-1 Petition
Employment Based Visas
Investment Visa
Image by Jon Sailer


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