Fairfax LGBTQ Family Immigration Lawyer

Over the past one hundred years, millions of people have emigrated to the United States seeking a better life. In many cases, these people have family members who also want to live out the American Dream.

Especially for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community, coming to America can mean social freedom, in addition to a chance to earn a better living. Still, even if one member of a family is a United States citizen, they must file a petition to allow another family member to come live in the U.S.

A Fairfax family LGBTQ immigration lawyer may be able to help an LGBTQ person bring their family members to the United States. A seasoned immigration lawyer could help to explain the family-based petition process, assist in gathering the necessary documents, and go forward with the filing of a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). For more information, or for help with a specific case, be sure to schedule a consultation today.

Who is Eligible to Seek Residency Though the Family-Based Petition?

United States immigration laws are a combination of regulating the laws surrounding unlawful entry and removal and a recognition of the need to keep families together. As a result, U.S. citizens can petition the USCIS to grant a petition that will permit family members living abroad to file a visa through the U.S. Department of State. When the State Department grants that visa, the family member will be allowed to come and live in the United States. This is known as the family-based immigrant visa program.

This program grants preference to the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. Immediate relatives are:

  • Spouses of U.S. citizens
  • Unmarried children of U.S. citizens under the age of 21
  • Orphans adopted abroad by U.S. citizens and those living in the U.S.
  • Parents of U.S. citizens at least 21 years old

There is no mention of a person’s sexual orientation in these criteria. With the recent legalization of equal marriage rights everywhere in the country, the USCIS cannot deny a family visa for reasons of sexual orientation.

Even if a family member does not fit into immediate relative categories, they may still apply for a family preference visa. These are available for:

  • Spouses of lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders);
  • Unmarried son or daughter of lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders);
  • Unmarried son or daughter of U.S. citizens over the age of 21 and their children;
  • Married son or daughter of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children;
  • Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens and their spouses and children

A Fairfax family immigration lawyer could help U.S. citizens in the LGBTQ community to identify which visa program fits their relatives’ needs.

The Family Visa Application Process

Applying for a family-based visa requires the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident petitioners to interact with both USCIS and the U.S. Department of State through the National Visa Center (NVC).

The first step requires the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident sponsor to complete and submit Form I-130. This form requires detailed information about both the relative and the sponsoring person.

Once completed, the form goes to the USCIS for adjudication. Once USCIS determines the immigration status of the petitioner (U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident) and that the family relationship exists, USCIS will approve the I-130 and forward the approved petition to the NVC.

At the NVC stage, the agency will demand additional information that includes:

  • Passports for all applicants;
  • An affidavit of support (Form I-864) from the petitioner;
  • Two passport-style photographs;
  • Additional civil documents (police clearances, birth certificates, death certificates, etc.) required by the relevant consular officer; and
  • Completed medical examination forms.

Finally, the family member seeking the visa will need to attend an interview at the U.S. Embassy in their home country (or the closest U.S. Embassy to their home country). A seasoned lawyer could help to ensure that all paperwork that goes to the USCIS or National Visa Center is complete and accurate. Additionally, a Fairfax LGBTQ family immigration lawyer could help prepare the LGBTQ family member for the interview an anticipate the questions that may be asked about the relationship to the petitioner.

A Fairfax LGBTQ Family Immigration Attorney Could Help

The United States has made great strides in the past decade concerning the rights of members of the LGBTQ community. With the recent recognition of all marriages between two people, there is no longer a sexual orientation barrier to requesting a family-based visa for a spouse. Contact a Fairfax LGBTQ family immigration lawyer today to see how they can help to bring your family members to the United States.

Fairfax LGBTQ Immigration Lawyer