At the law firm of Michael G. Murray, P.A., we work within the bounds of United States immigration law to reunite families and accomplish other immigration goals for our clients.
Family-Based Immigrant Visas
Two categories of family-based immigrant visa categories, including immediate relatives and family preference categories, are authorized under the provisions of United States immigration law.
Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas (Unlimited)
These visa categories are based on a close family relationship with a United States (U.S.) citizen described as an Immediate Relative (IR). The number of immigrants in these categories are unlimited each fiscal year. Immediate relative visa types include:
- IR-1: Spouse of a U.S. Citizen
- IR-2: Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen
- IR-3: Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen
- IR-4: Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen –
- IR-5: Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old
Family Preference Immigrant Visas (Limited):
These visa categories are for specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen and certain specified relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). There are fiscal year numerical limitations on family preference immigrants, shown at the end of each category. The family preference categories are:
- Family First Preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children, if any. (23,400)
- Family Second Preference (F2): Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of LPRs. At least seventy-seven percent of all visas available for this category will go to the spouses and children; the remainder is allocated to unmarried sons and daughters. (114,200)
- Family Third Preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children. (23,400)
- Family Fourth Preference (F4): Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age. (65,000)
Note: Grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and cousins cannot sponsor a relative for immigration.
Numerical Limitations for Limited Family-Based Preference Categories
Whenever the number of qualified applicants for a category exceeds the available immigrant visas, there will be an immigration waiting period. In this situation, the available immigrant visas will be issued in the chronological order in which the petitions were filed using their priority date, which is the date the petition was filed. Immigrant visas cannot be issued until an applicant’s priority date is reached.
Michael G. Murray, P.A. is proud to be among the first immigration law firms in the country to have filed an adjustment of status (green card) application based on a client’s same-sex marriage. In addition, Mr. Murray has lectured on the topic of fraud as it pertains to gay marriage petitions involving a prior heterosexual marriage.
Family Immigration with Visa Processing
Our Austin Immigration law firm oversees many cases involving consular processing of visas for applicants residing outside the United States. These cases require application at the appropriate U.S. consulate and review by the National Visa Center (NVC).
Family Immigration with Adjustment of Status
Our Austin Immigration law office also handles adjustment of status for immigrants who are in the United States and are able to pursue their green cards without returning to their home countries. In order to be eligible for adjustment of status, the individual needs to establish that he or she was inspected and/or paroled and that they are admissible at the time of application. Some of the grounds that make someone ineligible for adjustment of status are as follows:
- You entered the U.S. while you were in transit to another country without obtaining a visa.
- You entered the U.S. while you were a nonimmigrant crewman.
- You were not admitted or paroled into the United States after being inspected by a U.S. Immigration inspector.
- You are employed in the United States without USCIS authorization or you are no longer legally in the country (except through no fault of your own or for some technical reason). This rule does not apply to you if:
- You are the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen (parent, spouse, or unmarried child under 21 years old).
- Certain foreign medical graduates, international organization employees and family members.
- You are a J-1 or J-2 exchange visitor who must comply with the two-year foreign residence requirement, and you have not met or been granted a waiver for this requirement.
- You have an A (diplomatic status), E (treaty trader or investor), or G (representative to international organization) nonimmigrant status, or have an occupation that would allow you have this status. This rule will not apply to you if you complete USCIS Form I-508 (I-508F for French nationals) to waive diplomatic rights, privileges and immunities. If you are an A or G nonimmigrant, you must also submit USCIS Form I-566.
- You were admitted to Guam as a visitor under the Guam Visa Waiver Program. (This does not apply to immediate relatives.)
- You were admitted into the United States as a visitor under the Visa Waiver Program. (This rule does not apply to you if you are the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen (parent, spouse, or unmarried child under 21).)
- You are already a conditional permanent resident.
- You were admitted as a K-1 fiancé but did not marry the U.S. citizen who filed the petition for you. Or, you were admitted as the K-2 child of a fiancé and your parent did not marry the U.S. citizen who filed the petition for you.
In connection with family-immigration, our Austin immigration office also provides the following services:
- Uncontested Divorces
- K-1 visas for fiancés and fiancées
- Joint Petitions to remove the conditions of residence (I-751)
- Waiver Petitions to remove the conditions of residence based on divorce (I-751)