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We Help Families Through the Immigration Process

Our attorneys stand by you every step of the way

America is a place where people come in search of a better life, and usually they’re not alone. Especially in the case of refugees, families often make the journey to the United States to give their children an opportunity to grow up without fear of persecution.

Families seek refuge in the United States for a variety of reasons. Some of the top reasons include leaving behind poor economies, unjust governments and natural disasters. Another popular reason for the decision to immigrate is to unify a family, or to create one.

Our legal immigration attorneys at Chad Jones Law have been helping people facing immigration troubles in Texas for years. When it comes to keeping a family together, you need someone who understands the law and knows how the legal system works.

Family of U.S. Citizens have options

A United States citizen can “petition” to have a family member brought to the United States.  They would sponsor the petitioner with a form called “I-130-Petition for Alien Relative” that solidifies the family relationship between the two parties.

Sometimes this form can be filed with an application for Permanent Residence. The U.S. citizen can petition for immediate relatives, such as their spouses, single children under 21 and parents (as long as the citizen is over 21 years old). Other family members fall under the following “preference” categories:

  • First (F1) – Unmarried sons and daughters, 21 years of age or older, of U.S. citizens.
  • Second (2A) – Spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of permanent residents.
  • Second (2B) – Unmarried sons and daughters (over 21) of permanent residents.
  • Third (F3) – Married children of any age of U.S. citizens
  • Fourth (F4) – Siblings of U.S. citizens, when the U.S. citizen is over 21 years of age.

Your family is our priority

Families have the right to stay together, and that’s what we’re here to help you with. If you, or anyone you know, needs legal representation in the area of family immigration, call 1-800-64-JONES today for a free and private consultation.

Citizenship and Naturalization

This is the final step of the family immigration journey. Naturalization is the process of moving from permanent resident to citizen. It can take years to reach this step, and it has its own procedures to follow before citizenship is successfully obtained. Generally, everyone who has a permanent residence status is eligible to naturalize. Everyone has a right to have a legal immigration attorney who can help them through the process.

Naturalization is the process that takes place in order for an applicant’s status to be changed from “lawful permanent resident” to “citizen.” This process involves an application, as well as an exam. The following criteria must be met by both spouses and people seeking citizenship:

  • Applicant must be 18 years old or older and a permanent resident for at least 5 years. There is an exception for a permanent resident who has been married to a U.S. citizen for at least 3 years.
  • Applicant must have resided continuously within the United States with no extended absences
  • Applicant must be in good standing with the law, and not express ill wishes of the United States during this period.
  • Applicant must be competent in reading, writing and speaking English. A test in U.S. civics and history must also be passed. There are certain age-based exceptions that allow an applicant to take the exam in a language that they prefer.

The long period between filing an application and taking a citizenship test can be stressful. A lot can transpire during this time. You could become the victim of a crime, be caught up in legislative errors with the Department of Immigration or find yourself feeling isolated. Our firm focuses on immigration law to help people who feel like they have nowhere to turn. If you or someone you know needs legal help with their naturalization, call us today.

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Fiancée Visas

Planning on getting married? The long waiting periods for naturalization and citizenship don’t have to be a barrier between couples. Fiancée visas (also known as K-1 visas) exist to eliminate that barrier and allow couples to wed despite distance. However, there’s a lot of steps couples need to go through in order to obtain a K-1 fiancée visa. These include:

  • Current U.S. citizen sponsors fiancée’s petition for a K-1 visa.
  • Couple fills out “Form I-129-F,” a petition for an alien fiancée visa.
  • If your spouse has children abroad who are single and under 21 years old, they may be eligible for a K-2 nonimmigrant visa. On the original “Form I-129-F” petition, you should be sure to include all the names of your fiancée’s children.
  • Both parties must be legally available to marry at the time of the application.
  • If the United States government grants the couple a K-1 visa, they have 90 days to marry, or the visa will expire.

Applications are judged on a case by case basis. Once you marry, your spouse can apply for permanent residency, and may stay in the country while the application is processed. In the case of newly married international couples, an application for employment must be filed. This is called a “Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization” with the UCIS. On a fiancée visa, the work order is only valid for 90 days, so filing for an extended one with an application for permanent residence is not optional.

The fiancée visa process can be complicated. That’s why it’s important to know you can contact us today for a private, free consultation. We can provide the trusted legal aid you need to move forward in life.

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Deferred Action

“Deferred” means to put something off for a limited amount of time, postponing taking any action on it. When it comes to immigration, deferred action refers to the government delaying a decision on your immigration status.

In recent years, the most famous deferred action program has been Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Created in 2012, DACA creates a path for deferred action for some individuals who were brought to the United States illegally as children. However, DACA’s present legal status is complex and its future is very much in doubt.

That’s why it’s important to speak with an attorney who understands United States immigration law and the latest developments in deferred action immigration policy. You worked hard for your right to stay in the country.  If you are concerned about your DACA status or application, you need a family immigration lawyer on your side. It all starts when you contact us online, or call and speak with our bilingual staff.

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Family Green Cards

No one wants to leave their family behind when they take up a life in another country. Keeping the family together often means preserving culture and improving the quality of life for everyone involved. Once someone has achieved citizenship, they are able to sponsor their relatives to join them in the United States.

Degrees of relationship are split into categories to determine eligibility, known as “immediate” relatives and “preference” relatives; all can apply to join their families in their new lives.

Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are all eligible for different forms of visas include:

  • Spouses of U.S. citizens—anyone legally married and widows/widowers of U.S. citizens if the marriage lasted more than 2 years. They must apply for a visa within two years of their spouse’s death.
  • Single children of a U.S. citizen under 21
  • Parents of adult U.S. citizens (21 or more years of age)

Preference relatives should be named on the petitioner’s original visa petition and include:

  • First preference: single children of a citizen, no age specification
  • Spouses and single children under 21 of a green card holder, or single adult children of green card holders
  • Married children of a citizen
  • Siblings of a citizen over 21

Under the preference categories, any petition for an immigrant relative will automatically include that person’s spouse and unmarried children younger than 21 years old.

Unfortunately, immigration issues often take a long time to resolve. Limits exist on how many green cards can be issued per year. Percentages are assigned to each country. The average wait time for the closest degree of relation is normally 2 years. Siblings have the longest wait, sometimes over 13 years.

The U.S. citizen sponsoring their relative will be the one responsible for jumpstarting the application process and petitioning for their family member by a visa application. However, these forms and proceedings can be incredibly complicated for anyone without legal experience. When you’re filling out documents and trying to obtain a better life for your family, an immigration lawyer at our firm can help you every step of the way.

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Spouse and Stepchildren Visas

Families are diverse and come together in many different ways. Siblings, parents, extended relatives and stepchildren can make up a single family. Joining your spouse in the United States, or bringing over stepchildren comes with its challenges and its own set of obstacles.

Spouse Visas

In order to help a spouse cross into the United States to become a green card holder, the sponsor must already be a United States citizen or permanent resident. If the sponsor is a U.S. citizen and the spouse is already in the country lawfully, the process begins with form I-130, the “Petition for Alien Relative” and another form: I-185, the “Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status”. It’s important to note that same-sex marriages will be treated the same way as visa applications for opposite-sex ones.

If outside the U.S., the sponsor just needs to file the “Petition for Alien Relative” form, which will then go through the consulate or embassy, who will notify the petitioner of the form’s progress. If the sponsor is a green card holder (lawful permanent resident), the process becomes slightly more drawn out. After filing the I-130 form, the petitioner must file for an adjustment of status to permanent resident through another form: I-485. Form I-130 applies whether the spouse being petitioned for is outside or inside the U.S. already.

If you’re a U.S. citizen petitioning for your spouse, you’ll need:

  • Two completed G-325A forms
  • A copy of your marriage certificate
  • Documentation that any previous marriages have legally ended
  • Photos of you and your spouse (these must be in the style of passports)
  • Proof of citizenship: a U.S. birth certificate, naturalization certificate or valid passport

If the petitioner is a green card holder, they’ll need documentation to prove that status as well.

  • A copy of the front and back of their green card
  • Their non-U.S. passport

Stepchildren Visas

Children born outside the U.S. may be able to apply for and obtain a green card when their parent immigrates via a spouse visa. To qualify, the marriage must have taken place before their 18th birthday. Legal stepchildren are classified as unmarried children under 21, whose parents married before their 18th birthday, thus making them the legal minor children of the U.S. citizen petitioning for them. They’ll qualify for high priority visas as long as they remain unmarried until they receive their status, meaning that they are immediate relatives of the petitioner and won’t be subjected to long waiting periods for their green cards. Joining their families and starting a new life is a dream that shouldn’t be denied.

If the petitioner is a permanent resident of the United States, unmarried children under 21 are beneficiaries who won’t need separate I-130 visa petitions, they’ll be attached to the immigrant applicant’s petition. In order to obtain their green card at the same time as their parent, they must remain unmarried. If a marriage occurs, the wait time lengthens considerably.

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Waivers of Inadmissibility

Thousands of people are denied entry into the United States every year because they are deemed “inadmissible.” However, sometimes waivers are granted which allow such people to be admitted into the United States. When this occurs, that’s known as a “waiver of inadmissibility.”

Obtaining such waivers can often be the only opportunity for many people hoping to live and work in the United States. That’s why it’s critical that you talk to an experienced immigration attorney with extensive experience helping people come to the United States. If you believe you are inadmissible, or that this applies to someone you know, we can help.

What qualifies as “inadmissible?”

Just like there are qualifications for gaining entry to the United States, there are criteria for being denied entry to the United States. These are usually crimes the government considers a threat to the safety of the country and its people, or actions that demonstrate a poor moral character, including:

  • Drug trafficking
  • Convicted in murder or torture
  • Involved of human trafficking
  • Abusing a student visa
  • U.S. citizens who left the country to avoid participation in the military
  • Having an affiliation with a terrorist organization, or supporting one
  • Someone who was removed from the U.S. and re-entered illegally

Who can apply for a waiver?

A person who is currently living undocumented in the United States may have trouble applying for a green card, as their admission falls under “unlawful presence.” However, they may be eligible for a waiver that, if approved, will give them a second chance at life in the States. If the applicant has a permanent resident or citizen relative that will suffer extreme hardship if they leave, this may be grounds for a waiver application, though the situation may be determined by Immigration. If there is any criminal background to be noted, documentation showing that rehabilitation, service or necessary programs is required to demonstrate a good moral standing.

Sometimes, you need to address issues from your past in return for the promise of a future. You need the experience and know-how of someone who has been through this process before. A waiver application is a tough hurdle to get over on your own. Contact us, we can help. Call to talk to our bilingual staff and receive a free, private consultation customized to your needs.

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Adjustment of Status

To become a permanent resident, a potential citizen must “adjust” their status with the government. If certain criteria are met, permanent residency can be adjusted through an application process. This is commonly referred to as obtaining a green card. Our legal immigration attorneys have years of experience helping immigrants find their way through this complicated process.

Like all parts of the immigration process, you must prove yourself eligible to apply for permanent residency. Requirements include:

  • You must already be eligible for a green card through an employer, family member, or asylum/refugee status.
  • Valid visa status is required, with few exceptions. Not overstaying a visa and working with permission from immigration authorities are two main requirements, with exceptions noted to apply to immediate family members of U.S. citizens who have entered on a valid visa with the immediate intent to become permanent residents.
  • If you entered on a fiancée visa, you must be married to that U.S. citizen.
  • If based on family, an approved visa petition must already be on file.
  • If you still aren’t sure if you qualify for a green card, or if you believe your case may be exceptional, you should speak to an immigration attorney who can help you.

Adjusting your status often requires filling out (completely and accurately) the I-485 form. Filling this out with your attorney is best to ensure complete accuracy, otherwise you may be denied your status. Mailing the form in does not require a trip to the office. If you’d like to be extra secure in knowing that your form was delivered, you can fill out the G-1145 form, which ensures that the government notify you by text or email when your form was delivered.

Since this form is incredibly important to your residency status, it is in your best interest to have it filled out correctly and fully. An immigration attorney can help you with this. Contact us for a free consultation.

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Our Locations

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Chad Jones Law

College Station/Bryan
2811 Earl Rudder Fwy S.
College Station, TX 77845
Ph. (979)-314-3218

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Chad Jones Law

Waco
510 N. Valley Mills Dr., Suite 404
Waco, TX 76710
Ph. (254)-230-0883

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Shown: Case managers and Attorneys Chad E. Jones and Kevin Kornegay.
Board Certified, Texas Board of Legal Specialization
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