Family Immigration Lawyers in Chicago, IL.

One of the primary goals at The Law Offices of Susan Fortino-Brown is to unite individuals with their family members. Each attorney at our firm practices family-based immigration and naturalization law, and together we have helped thousands of families.

While some immigration law firms limit their service to document processing and advice, we understand the pain of family separation, and provide personal service in a supportive atmosphere.

We understand the frustration and emotional difficulty that separation can bring; our staff includes people who emigrated from their countries and have experienced the delays, doubts and separation that family immigration can bring.

We can help you to resolve any family immigration legal challenge you face, including working to have your family join you in the U.S., or working to help you and your family remain here legally once you have arrived. We have helped thousands of people petition for immigration benefits for their spouse, children, parents and other relatives.

Basic Elements of Immigrating Through a Family Member

Identifying who can sponsor a family member to immigrate is the first step in seeking lawful permanent residence (also known as a green card or immigrant visa). The person intending to sponsor a family member is the petitioner. The person intending to obtain lawful permanent residence is called the beneficiary, and any qualifying dependent family members of the beneficiary are referred to as dependant or derivative beneficiaries.

The petitioner must have a qualifying familial relationship with the beneficiary. For this purpose, the petitioner files an alien relative petition (I-130) to verify that the petitioner maintains the appropriate sponsor status (U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident) and that a qualifying relationship exists with the beneficiary. The pyramid below describes family members who are permitted to file a petition whom depending on the relationship are classified in preference categories.

The petitioner must establish that sponsorship fits in one of the categories through the filing of the alien relative petition. The date of filing is referred to as the priority date. The category on top of the pyramid is known as the "immediate relative" category. Members in this group are afforded the highest priority. Unlike the other preference categories, an immediate relative petitioner need not wait for a visa to become available after the petition is approved making the visa process relatively shorter than the other categories.

Generally (with some notable exceptions), the lower the preference category the longer the processing times. For preference categories 1 thru 4, visa availability and processing is determined by the priority date as published in the latest Visa Bulletin.

The age of certain beneficiaries at the time of filing the petition is critical when seeking an immigrant visa. Additionally, turning 21 years of age could potentially affect the petition. The Child Status Protection Act is a set of complex rules that may allow the beneficiary to maintain his petition and ability to seek an immigrant visa. Thus, it is important to seek legal advice especially in cases involving children who are turning 21 years or have turned 21 during the processing.

The second step in obtaining a green card for a family member is to identify where the beneficiary will be applying for lawful permanent residence. If the beneficiary is eligible and intends to apply in the United States the process is called adjustment of status. If the beneficiary seeks the green card with a U.S. Consulate Office abroad, this is referred to as consular processing. It is important to seek legal advice before applying for lawful permanent residence to determine whether the applicant is eligible.

Contact The Law Offices of Susan Fortino-Brown Today (312) 341-9009