Immigration Application

Houston Immigration Application Lawyer

Expert Assistance with Immigration Applications in Harris County 

Going through the immigration process requires paperwork and documentation that must meet strict requirements. The process must be completed with accuracy, detail, and, where deadlines apply, timeliness. To avoid making common mistakes and thus delays or denials, it is best to get the help of an experienced immigration lawyer who understands the laws and the system and who can monitor the process from start to finish. 

At Maranto Law Firm, Houston immigration application attorney Rafael Maranto has helped thousands of individuals and families successfully complete immigration applications and processing over the last 17 years. This has given him extensive and invaluable experience in helping you navigate the U.S. immigration system in all of its complexity. Our firm is dedicated to helping immigrants achieve their dreams of living and working in America through proper legal channels.

Let us help you with the application process. Arrange for a free initial consultation with our immigration lawyer online or at (855) 961-0601. Hablamos español. 

Understanding the U.S. Immigration Application Process

Family-related immigration to this country starts with an application in which a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) sponsors a family member in a petition. These family members may already be in the U.S. on a visa or may still reside abroad. 

U.S. citizens may sponsor the following:

  • Spouses
  • Unmarried children under 21 years old
  • Unmarried sons and daughters (21 years or older)
  • Married sons and daughters (any age)
  • Brothers and sisters (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years or older)
  • Parents (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years or older)

U.S. citizens can file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of an eligible family member. Unlike the relatives of lawful permanent residents, these relatives are not subject to annual caps on the number of visas available to them.  

Lawful permanent residents (green card holders) can sponsor:

  • Spouses
  • Unmarried children under 21 years old
  • Unmarried sons and daughters (21 years or older)

Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) can also file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for their eligible family members. However, they cannot sponsor their parents, married children, or siblings. Relatives of LPRs are subject to a fixed number of visas available each year, which may result in waiting times for visa availability.

Two processes can occur under the immigration application process. These are adjustment of status and consular processing. 

Adjustment of Status 

Adjustment of Status (AOS) is a procedure that allows an eligible applicant to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States without having to leave the country. It is an alternative to consular processing for obtaining an immigrant visa. AOS is typically used by individuals who are already in the U.S. on a temporary visa (such as a student or work visa) and want to apply for a green card.

To apply for AOS, an individual must:

  • Be physically present in the United States.
  • Have an approved immigrant petition (such as Form I-130 or I-140) or be filing the petition concurrently with the AOS application.
  • Have an immigrant visa immediately available (for preference categories).
  • Be admissible to the United States (i.e., not have any disqualifying factors such as certain criminal convictions or immigration violations).

The applicant must submit Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, along with supporting documents and fees to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The process may also include biometrics collection, background checks, and an interview with a USCIS officer.

Consular Processing for Immigrant Visas

Consular Processing is the method by which an individual who is outside the United States applies for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. This process is used to obtain a green card and enter the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident.

The steps involved in consular processing are:

  • The petitioner (U.S. citizen or LPR sponsor) files an immigrant petition (such as Form I-130 or I-140) on behalf of the beneficiary (the family member/intending immigrant).
  • Once the petition is approved and a visa number is available (for preference categories), the National Visa Center (NVC) collects the required fees, forms, and supporting documents from the petitioner and his/her family member.
  • The NVC forwards the completed file to the appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate in the family member’s home country.
  • The family member attends an interview with a consular officer who reviews the application, conducts security checks, and determines whether he or she is eligible for the immigrant visa.
  • If the visa is approved, the family member as the beneficiary receives an immigrant visa stamp in his/her passport; this allows travel to the U.S. and to be admitted as a lawful permanent resident.

Both Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing ultimately lead to obtaining a green card, but the eligibility requirements and procedures vary depending on your circumstances.

Contact Our Houston Immigration Application Attorney Today 

The immigration application and process can be complicated and daunting. To ensure that your application is completed accurately, and proper documentation is supplied, we highly recommend that you seek the help of our experienced attorney. Ensure you have the best chance of a favorable outcome by contacting us today. 

Call us at (855) 961-0601

Houston's Immigration Attorney The Maranto Law Firm is a Houston based law firm providing help to all those in need.