At the law offices of Schierer & Ritchie, our Peoria attorneys advise clients about U.S. immigration laws and help you overcome any obstacles that come in the way of achieving your dreams. If you are interested in becoming a permanent resident or citizen of the United States, we are ready to help.
Our practice areas include family-based immigration, visas, green cards, naturalization, and citizenship. For a consultation, please contact our offices today.
Bringing Your Children to the United States
United States citizens and permanent residents may petition to bring their children to the U.S., but the process varies based on the status of the parent and the age and marital status of the child.
Citizen parents of unmarried children under the age of 21 may receive an immigrant visa number for their child immediately. This means that as soon as the petition is approved, the child can apply for an immigrant visa and permanent resident status.
Children of citizen parents who are over 21 or who are married (regardless of age) will have to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available. The wait time is typically several years.
Permanent residents may also petition to bring their unmarried children under the age of 21 into the United States. This process also involves a multi-year wait.
Immigration law makes some exceptions for the children of permanent residents. When the immigrant parent obtains residency by marrying a U.S. citizen, the step-parent may petition for the child. Parents who receive their permanent resident status through employment, the DV lottery, or sponsorship by a U.S. citizen are permitted to bring their children into the United States using a Following to Join petition.
A United States citizen may petition to bring their spouse into the U.S. to become a permanent resident and eventually a citizen themselves. There are several ways to approach a marriage petition, depending on whether your spouse is currently in the United States or abroad, and whether your spouse has children that will also need to become U.S. residents. Before sponsoring your spouse, speak with an experienced immigration attorney to understand and weigh your options.
A visa is an authorization that allows someone who is not a U.S. citizen to enter the U.S. and stay here for a certain amount of time. There are many different types of visas, and each carries its own conditions regarding the amount of time you are able to stay, whether or not you are permitted to work while in the country, and the dates the visa is valid.
H-1B visas allow United States employers to sponsor specialized foreign workers for temporary employment. If a worker has specialized knowledge in their field, and possesses a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, a company may employ the foreign worker for a period of three to six years.
The worker may also bring immediate family members and dependents into the U.S. One unique aspect of the H1-B visa is that it allows for dual intent, meaning that the worker can apply for a green card while working under the visa.
Business Visas (E Visas)
Foreign nationals who are traders, investors, and employees and whose country has a commerce and navigation treaty with the United States are eligible to be sponsored for E visas, also known as business visas. An E-1 or E-2 visa also grants status to dependent spouses and children, who may apply for work authorization in the United States themselves. E-1 and E-2 visa holders may not apply for permanent residency, and the visa may be revoked if the U.S. decides to place sanctions or embargoes on the treaty country.
K-1 Visas (Fiancé Visa)
K-1 visas allow a U.S. citizen to bring a prospective spouse from another country into the U.S. for a period of up to three months. During this time, the couple must decide if they will marry. Either they must marry within 90 days, or the foreign national must leave the U.S.
The K-1 visa is sometimes a good option for couples who are uncertain if they want to get married. For couples who intend to marry, it may be a better option to get married in the foreign country and then petition for a family visa.
At Schierer & Ritchie, one of the most important things we do is uniting families through immigration. We can help U.S. citizens and permanent residents sponsor their family members for family visas so they may legally stay in the United States. The type of visa your family member will need depends on your age and marital status, as well as the age and marital status of your family member and your relation to them.
Green Cards (Lawful Permanent Resident)
There are three different ways to get a U.S. green card (lawful permanent residency).
- First, immigrants may be sponsored for an immigrant visa, either by a family member or an employer.
- Second, people who have been granted asylum or refugee status in the U.S. may apply to adjust their status to permanent residency.
- Third, immigrants may participate in the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery Program.
The experienced immigration lawyers at Schierer & Ritchie can advise you on your best path to permanent residency.
Naturalization & Citizenship
United States immigration law allows people to become U.S. citizens in three different ways.
The first is by birth. A person is automatically a citizen of the United States if he or she is born in the U.S. A person may also be a citizen if he or she is born out of the U.S. to at least one citizen parent.
Child Citizenship Act
The second way to become a citizen is by meeting the requirements established in the Child Citizenship Act. Children who meet these requirements are automatically U.S. citizens. It is smart to get a certificate of citizenship as proof of citizenship for these children, as they were not born citizens and did not undergo naturalization requirements in order to become citizens.
The third way to become a citizen is through the naturalization process. Naturalization allows permanent U.S. residents to apply for citizenship.
In order for citizenship to be granted, the applicant must fulfill a number of requirements. These include living continuously in the U.S. for a certain period of time, being able to answer questions about United States history and the U.S. government, being able to speak English, and having good moral character.
Contact Peoria Immigration and Naturalization Attorneys
At Schierer & Ritchie, we recognize the significance of becoming a United States resident or citizen. We are here to help turn your dreams into reality. We can assist you through every step of the immigration process. To get immigration advice from an experienced Peoria lawyer, contact the offices of Schierer & Ritchie today.