How to Become a U.S. Citizen Using Family Members

Immigration issues are complex, but you don’t have to do it alone. Our Immigration Attorneys are here to help, serving individuals in and around the Kennewick, Tacoma, Yakima, Moses Lake, Seattle, and Portland areas.

Ritchie Reiersen Immigration Attorneys Love Helping Families

At Ritchie Reiersen Law, our Immigration Attorneys find great joy in helping families have the opportunity to be together and stay together in the United States. When you have questions about how you may utilize family relationships in your immigration goals, our Immigration Lawyers have answers for you. A family member who is either a permanent resident (green card holder) or a citizen of the United States may be able to help you achieve immigration faster than through other avenues.

With one of our experienced local Immigration Attorneys, you will have the opportunity to evaluate all of your options and the amount of time each avenue of immigration could take. We can help you assess each possible family relationship and see how those could assist you in your immigration needs. The team of Immigration Attorneys at Ritchie Reiersen Immigration Law has years of experience helping clients with all of their immigration challenges – and we can help you. With offices serving in and around Kennewick, Yakima, Moses Lake, Tacoma, Seattle, and Auburn, we can help you wherever you are. Call us today for a no-obligation free consultation. Call today at  1 (888) 884-7337.

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Utilizing the Residency or Citizenship of your Spouse or Fiancé

If you have a spouse or a fiancé who is a permanent resident or U.S. citizen, you very likely qualify to become either a resident or citizen yourself. Having an experienced Immigration Lawyer to help guide you through the immigration process can drastically increase your likelihood of achieving your goal of becoming a United States resident. At Ritchie Reiersen Immigration Law, our team of Immigration Lawyers is experienced with all your immigration needs. We provide immigration services in Kennewick, Yakima, Moses Lake, Tacoma, Seattle, and Auburn. Call today – 1 (888) 884-7337.

Why You Should have An Immigration Attorney

Anyone who has looked into the United States immigration system knows it can be complex and very confusing. Having an Immigration Attorney on your side can make the process much easier. Between complicated laws, changing regulations, and overwhelming applications, the opportunity to make some inadvertent and costly mistakes is huge.

At Ritchie Reiersen Immigration Law, we want our immigration clients to receive the best possible outcome for their immigration needs. We will treat you like family and help you understand each step of the process. Our team of Immigration Lawyers is experienced and is ready to help with all your immigration needs. We provide immigration services in Kennewick, Yakima, Moses Lake, Tacoma, Seattle, and Auburn.1 (888) 884-7337.

Download Our  Immigration Guide Book Free

Feel free to ask for all immigration purposes from our immigration lawyer. This book is composed of easy to understand action steps so you can understand things better for yourself or your family.
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Our Immigration Services

The process to becoming a U.S. citizen or receiving any type of visa can be very complex and confusing - and often quite frustrating.  An experienced immigration lawyer at Ritchie Reiersen Law will care for you and help you understand each step of the immigration process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is family-based immigration?

Family-based immigration is an immigration process that allows certain individuals a way to become a resident of the United States using their relationship with a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident. The citizen or resident who files the petition is called the Sponsor. The family member they want to have come to the U.S. is referred to as the Beneficiary.

Who is able to sponsor a relative for a green card?

A Sponsor must be over the age of 18 years, and must be either a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.

What are the obligations of being a sponsor?

A Sponsor must sign a legally-binding affidavit of support indicating they will maintain the standard of living of the Beneficiary at or above 125% of the national poverty level. This obligation continues until the Beneficiary becomes a U.S. citizen or has worked in the U.S. for about 10 years.

Which relatives can I sponsor if I am a U.S. citizen?
  • Spouse
  • Unmarried children under 21 years of age
  • Siblings, if you are at least 21 years old
  • Parent, if you are at least 21 years old
Which relatives can I sponsor if I am a permanent resident?
  • Spouse
  • Unmarried children
What documents are required for me to apply to be a Sponsor of a family member for a green card?
  • Documents proving you are a U.S. citizen (birth certificate, passport, naturalization certificate) or a permanent resident (green card).
  • Proof of qualifying relationship (marriage certificate, birth certificate, adoption papers, etc).
  • Financial information (tax forms, proof of employment, bank statements).
  • Your family member will be required to provide a passport, photos, and a medical examination.
I am a permanent resident. My wife has a daughter from a previous marriage. Can I sponsor my step-daughter for a green card?

Yes, you may sponsor your stepdaughter for permanent residency as long as your marriage to her mother took place before your stepdaughter turned 18.

Why do I have to wait so many years for an immigrant visa to become available?

The number of visas available each year is set by the Immigration and Nationality Act. Immigrant visas for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are immediate and always available. Immigrant visas for non-qualifying family members are numerically limited.

There are also limits to the percentage of visas that can be allotted based on the country the individual is coming from. When the demand is higher than the supply of visas available for a given year, a wait list or backlog is created.

My mother is a US citizen and she is applying for permanent residence for me. I am married and have children. Does my mother have to file separate petitions for my spouse and children?

No, your spouse and children will be eligible to apply for immigrant visas and obtain their green cards with you. Your mother does not have to fill out separate petitions for each individual in this case.

Where can I check to see if my priority date is current?

You can look on the State Department’s website to see the current visa bulletin here.

What is the Visa Bulletin?

The Visa Bulletin is issued every month and shows which green card applications are eligible to move forward, based on when the petition was originally filed.

Why would a green card application be denied?

A green card application could be denied for several reasons, including but not limited to incomplete or inaccurate application, missing documents, insufficient financial resources, or a failure to demonstrate eligibility.

How do other family-based immigrants (non-immediate relatives) enter the United States?
Aside from the previously-mentioned immediate relative scenarios, all other family-based immigrants enter the U.S. through the “family preference system.”  Immigrants are divided into categories based upon their relationship to a family member in the U.S., and their applications are processed according to these preferences. The categories are as follows:

  • First preference: Unmarried adult children of U.S. citizen
  • 2nd A preference: Spouse or minor children of Lawful permanent resident
  • 2nd B preference: Unmarried adult children of a Lawful permanent resident
  • 3rd preference: Married adult children of a U.S. citizen
  • 4th preference: Siblings of an adult U.S. citizen

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