Criminal and Immigration lawyer San Diego

Family Based Immigration and Visas

San Diego California Immigration Attorneys

The Rodriguez Law Firm has helped many clients petition their spouse, parents, children, and siblings get their green card or naturalize to become US citizens. Whether through adjustment of status or by consulate process our legal team is experienced and ready to help you get your green card or become a citizen of the United States.

Our mission at The Rodriguez Law Firm is simple.  As champions of hope and family unity we offer our clients the guidance, knowledge, and professional experience that increases their chances of getting an approved application for a green card, work permit, to naturalize and become a US. Citizen.

Types of Visas

There are two types of visas and our San Diego Office can help you get the right one. The two different types of visas include:

  • An immigrant visa allows the non-citizen applicant to move and live in the United States on a permanent bases.
  • The non-immigrant visas is given on a temporary bases to tourist, students, business, or to those that want to work in the United States for a limited time.

The Immigrant Visa

If you want to permanently live in the United States we can help you get an immigrant visa. There two types of immigrant visas that allows foreigners permanently live in the United States:

  • Family based petitions, where a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident can petition certain family members or
  • Employment based petitions where an employer petitions the person

The Family Visa

A U.S. citizen or green card holder (permanent resident) can petition and sponsor certain family members that are already living in the United States and want to adjust status in the United States. Other U.S. citizens want to petition family members that live in their home country and need to do consulate process so they can move to the United States.  

United State Citizen Petitioners

U.S. citizen can petition their immediate relatives so long that they are at least 21 years old. The benefit of a U.S. citizen filing for their immediate family member is that there is no waiting in line for a visa. The USICS Office will begin to process the application when they receive it. But what is meant by immediate family member?

Immediate relatives includes:

  • Spouse (husband or wife)
  • Unmarried minor child (under 21)
  • Parents

Other family relations that are not considered “immediate“ include:

  • Unmarried sons and daughters 21 years of age or older
  • Married sons and daughters 21 years or older
  • Brothers and sisters

Permanent resident Petitioners

A green card holder (lawful Permanent Resident) can also petition a family member. But, it is slightly different. The family members that can be petitioned by an LPR is limited to:

  • Spouse (husband or wife)
  • Unmarried children under 21 years of age
  • Unmarried son or daughter of any age

Preference Categories

When the family member is not an “immediate” family member the review of the petitioner’s application will fall under a preference category that prioritize when it will be processed. The following preference categories apply:

  • First preference: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. (Adult means 21 or older)
  • Second Preference (2A): Spouses of green card holders, unmarried children (under 21) of permanent residents
  • Second Preference (2B):  Unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents
  • Third Preference: Married sons and daughters (any age) of U.S. citizens
  • Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens

A visa becomes available to a preference category based on the date the I-130 was properly filed.

If a permanent resident becomes a U.S. citizen after filing the petition

A permanent resident that becomes a U.S. citizen after filing an I-130 application for a family member can change their visa classification by notifying the USCIS office. This will change the category to “immediate” and speed up the review process of the application.

What’s’ happens after the approval of the I-130?

  • If your relative entered the United States legally, he or she may apply to adjust status to become a permanent resident after a visa number becomes available using Form I-485, Application for the Adjustment of Status.
  • If your relative is outside the United States, your petition will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will forward your petition to the appropriate U.S. consulate when a visa becomes available and your relative will be notified about how to proceed. This process is referred to as “Consulate process”.
  • Your family member’s preference category determines how long he or she will have to wait for an immigrant visa number.

Other Family Visas filed by U.S. Citizens

  • K-1 Fiancé (e)Visa
  • K-2 Visa, These visa are used for the children of the Fiancé (e)
  • K-3 Non-immigrant spousal visa
  • K-4 non immigrant visa for child of spouse  

Adjustment of Status

If you have a U.S. citizen spouse, child, or parent you may be eligible for an adjustment of status in the United States from nonimmigrant to permanent resident immigrant.

Spouse Visas

Spouse visas are one of the most common ways of petition a family member.  U.S. citizens or permanent residents are allowed to petition their foreign spouse and bring them to the United States after filing an I-130 application and completing a consulate interview. The process requires a showing that it is a bonafide marriage.  If approved the spouse can move to the United States.

Same-sex Marriages

Same-sex married couples are entitled to the same immigration benefits as heterosexual couples. This includes the ability to petition for your spouse or your fiancé.


Waivers of inadmissibility may be available for persons that are inadmissible from the United States due to unlawful presence, fraud, or prior criminal convictions.

Provisional Waivers

This waiver is available for persons that entered the United States illegally and needs permission to return to the United States after the consulate interview in their home country. To be eligible for this waiver the person must be married to a U.S. citizen, or have a U.S. citizen child, or parent. They must show extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen family member. This waiver is limited to issues of unlawful presence and not for any criminal grounds of inadmissibility.

Criminal and Immigration lawyer San Diego

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San Diego, CA 92108
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