Charlotte Family Immigration Lawyer

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Charlotte Family Immigration Attorney

NC Family Based Petition Attorney

For many, immigration to a new country can mean leaving a lot behind. In some cases, this even means leaving close family members behind. We can’t imagine how hard it is to make the choice for a better life with the hopes that you will one day be able to bring those who are so important to you along.

At Steven T. Meier, PLLC, we try to help make that hope a reality. We understand how important the outcome of family immigration cases can be, and we treat them with the care and seriousness they deserve. We hope to have a part in your family being united again.

Who Can Petition?

Family immigration generally occurs through a process of sponsorship, where someone inside the United States petitions to act as the sponsor of someone coming into the country. This is the first step in someone getting a green card and possibly full citizenship later. To act as a sponsor, though, there are certain requirements that must be met. These include:

  • The sponsor must be able to prove that they are either a United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States.
  • The individual being petitioned for and the sponsor must have a qualifying relationship with each other.
  • The sponsor must demonstrate that they are able to support the individual they are petitioning to bring into the country. Typically, this means they need to have an income of 125% or more above the poverty line. However, in cases involving military personnel, this threshold drops to 100%.
  • All the proper forms, including Form I-130, must be filed to the proper offices.

Immediate Relatives

These are family visas that are issued for close relatives of qualifying sponsors. In this particular category, the qualifying sponsor must be a U.S. citizen.

The good news is that there is no limit to the number of these sponsorships that can be issued in a single year in Charlotte, NC. As a result, the process tends to be resolved quickly in comparison with most immigration processes, so long as all the procedures are followed properly and forms are filled out correctly. The relationships that qualify for this category of visa are:

  • A U.S. citizen’s unmarried child – as long as they are under the age of 21
  • A U.S. citizen’s spouse
  • An orphan adopted by a U.S. citizen from abroad
  • An orphan who will be adopted in the United States by a U.S. citizen
  • The U.S. citizen’s parent – as long as the sponsor is 21 years of age

Family Preference

These are family visas that are issued for relatives of U.S. citizens who are more distant than those in the immediate relatives category. It is also for the relatives of lawful permanent residents of the United States.

There are four different categories of this kind of visa. However, a major difference between the immediate relatives visas and the family preference visas is that each category of family preference visas has an annual maximum number of visas issued.

Once the annual cap is reached, no more will be issued until the following year. This means that there can be significant backlogs in some cases.

It is also important to work with an immigration lawyer in Charlotte to ensure that your application is done properly so you don’t have to return to the back of the line. Some of these categories have wait times that could extend for years. The four kinds of family preference visas are:

  • Family First Preference – 23,400 visas issued annually. These are granted to unmarried children of U.S. citizens, along with their minor children.
  • Family Second Preference – 114,200 visas issued annually. These are for lawful permanent residents’ spouses, minor children, and unmarried children over the age of 21. The majority of these each year are issued to spouses and minor children, with the remaining being granted to unmarried children over the age of 21.
  • Family Third Preference – 23,400 visas issued annually. This category of visa is given to a U.S. citizen’s married children, along with their minor children.
  • Family Fourth Preference – 65,000 visas annually. These are issued to the siblings of a U.S. citizen over the age of 21, along with those siblings’ spouses and minor children.


If a U.S. citizen has a fiancé who resides outside the country, there is a special visa that can allow that fiancé to enter the country. However, the sponsor and fiancé must be married within 90 days of the fiancé entering the country.

How a Family Immigration Lawyer Can Help

The family immigration process can often be a competitive way of immigrating to the United States. Fortunately, if you are looking at sponsoring an immediate relative, the lack of an annual cap means that the process can tend to move more quickly.

However, any error in paperwork and applications can still lead to significant delays. Of course, those errors become even more costly in terms of time delays for family preference applications.

It’s important to ensure that all your forms are properly filled out, proper documentation of relationships is submitted, and the application is given to the proper channels. Working with an immigration lawyer, like those at Steven T. Meier, PLLC, is the surest way to feel confident that your application is up to the standard it needs to be for approval.

Let Us Help Bring Your Family Together

Families want to be together. We understand how hard it can be to have borders and immigration systems standing between families. One of the most rewarding things we can do is to help reunite these families.

As immigration through this avenue becomes even more challenging, it’s all the more important that you don’t leave anything up to chance and ensure that you are following the process correctly and thoroughly. At Steven T. Meier, PLLC, we help make sure that is exactly what happens.

If you want to give yourself a better chance of being able to bring your family back together, contact us today to discuss your situation.


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