Basics About Family Immigration

While people born and raised in California may not think of it often, there are a number of immigrants who are waiting to get their green cards and become residents of the country. A green card gives three important rights to those who have it: the right to live in the country permanently, the right to work legally in the country and the right to enjoy the protection of civil and federal laws.

However, to obtain a green card one must qualify. There are eight different categories under which an individual can qualify, including family, employment, victims of abuse, refugee or asylee status or human trafficking and crime victims.

If someone is applying under the family category, they must either be immediate relatives, such as spouses, unmarried children or preference immigrants. Even if an American citizen is engaged to a foreign national and not yet married, they may be able to procure a visa that allows them to travel to the country with a non-immigration status and marry their fiancé within the next 90 days. However, if the couple got married abroad, they are not eligible for this type of a visa but they can file a petition to sponsor their spouse as an immediate relative.

Individuals who have applied for lawful permanent residence have to prove that there are no health issues with them, which is why they have to undergo medical exams and vaccinations. Regardless of the category under which they applied, they must submit to those tests. The test results must be valid, which is why they must be scheduled as close to the filing date of the application.

Applying for a green card for family immigration can be a daunting process, especially since individuals are awaiting family members and don’t want to make a mistake. It might be helpful to consult an experienced attorney who can ensure all the paperwork is complete and proof submitted so that there are no unnecessary delays.

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Sweta Khandelwal

Sweta completed her Masters in Law from the University of California, Los Angeles and her JD from the Faculty of Law, Delhi University in India and has been practicing law for 15+ years getting visas, green cards, and citizenship for 1000+ clients, 100+ companies across 50+ nationalities.

Sweta has been recognized as a ” Super Lawyer, Rising Star,” and as amongst the ” Top 40 under 40″ immigration attorneys in California (American Society of Legal Advocates). She is also the recipient of the Advocacy Award by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Sweta is also a chartered accountant — the equivalent of a CPA. This makes her uniquely positioned to understand the immigration needs of her business clients in the broader context of their corporate objectives.

Sweta is actively involved with immigration issues and immigrant communities in various capacities. She has assumed key roles at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), both at the local and national level. She has been a past chair at the Santa Clara Valley Chapter at AILA and has also been involved in various practice area committees at AILA National. Sweta has addressed multiple conferences/forums in the United States and worldwide on immigration and business issues.

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