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Access Immigration is OPEN.

Due to the continued spread of COVID-19, we will schedule all appointments via 

phone or video conference until further notice.

Family Unity through
Residency & Citizenship

Navigating the complex landscape of immigration law can be a daunting experience, especially when family members are living in different countries.


As an immigration law firm deeply committed to facilitating this reunification process, Access Immigration is here to provide expert guidance and support every step of the way.

If you and your family are currently separated by international borders, or if you are hoping to avoid a lengthy separation, please contact us for an in-depth review of your goals and legal options.


Obtaining Permanent Residency Through Family

U.S. immigration law offers various pathways for family members to obtain permanent residence through their family relationships to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. U.S. citizens can apply for their spouses, children, parents, and siblings, and permanent residents can apply for their spouses and unmarried children.

Changing or Adjusting Status Inside the United States

Family members who entered the United States lawfully and otherwise qualify to become permanent residents can apply for residency through a process called "adjustment of status." This is often the most desirable path to permanent residence because it does not require a lengthy separation. Unfortunately, it is not always available either due to previous immigration violations or other legal complications. Eligibility for adjustment of status is one of the most common topics we explore in our initial consultation.

Family-Based Visa Applications

U.S. immigration law also provides a pathway for family members of citizens and permanent residents to enter the United States on an "immigrant visa." These visas ultimately enable eligible individuals to live, work, and thrive together with their family in the United States, but they can take years to process.

There are three types of family-based visas:

1. Immediate Relative Visas are designed for the spouses, unmarried children under 21 years old, and parents of U.S. citizens. These visas do not have annual numerical limits, allowing for quicker processing.

2. Family Preference Visas are available to the unmarried sons and daughters (over 21 years old) of U.S. citizens, married children of any age of U.S. citizens, and siblings of U.S. citizens. They are also  available to the spouses and unmarried children of permanent residents.

3. Fiancé(e) Visas are intended for foreign nationals engaged to U.S. citizens who are not currently married and are planning to marry in the United States within 90 days of entering.

"Direct Filing" of Family-Based Visa Applications

Most family-based visa applications pass through three different governmental agencies: the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), the National Visa Center (NVC), and the Department of State (DOS). Some U.S. citizens who are residing abroad may qualify to process their immediate relative's immigrant visa applications entirely through the DOS office with jurisdiction over their place of residence. 


By bypassing USCIS and the NVC, this process, called "direct filing" can save years of processing delays. Most families will not qualify for this process, but we always screen for it in our consultations.

Removing the Conditions on Permanent Residency

Individuals who became permanent residents through marriage who were married less than 2 years when they became residents must file an application to "remove the conditions" on their permanent residency. This application is filed on Form I-751 (not Form I-90), and it must be filed in the 90-day window before the individual's permanent resident card expires.

Typically, this application is filed jointly by both spouses, but there are several exceptions, including divorce (as long as the couple proves that they entered into the marriage in good faith), domestic abuse, and extreme hardship. We routinely assist couples and individuals in removing the conditions on their permanent residence. In some cases, a consultation is all that is needed for the couple to feel comfortable filing this application on their own. 

Applying for U.S. Citizenship

The capstone of your U.S. immigration journey may be obtaining U.S. citizenship. While not all permanent residents chose to take this step, it can be incredibly meaningful and provide considerable peace of mind to finally hold your naturalization certificate in your hands. U.S. citizens are protected from deportation and gain the privilege of traveling for unlimited amounts of time outside of the country. They also have the right to vote and to sit on a jury.

Like other U.S. immigration processes, an individual's eligibility for citizenship can be undermined by seemingly minor concerns, such as being behind in child support or tax payments, a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol, or accidentally registering to vote.


If you are interested in becoming a U.S. citizen and have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years (or 3 years if you have also been married to and living with a U.S. citizen during that time), we can help you understand the process and confirm your eligibility.

How Access Immigration Can Help

Navigating the U.S. immigration process requires knowledge, attention to detail, and a compassionate approach. At Access Immigration, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive assistance to individuals and families seeking to secure U.S. permanent residence or citizenship for themselves or family members. Here’s how we can support you:

1. Expert Guidance: Attorney Katharine Speer Rosenthal will assess your situation and identify the most suitable immigration options for you or your family members. Her extensive experience in immigration law and the professionalism of our entire team ensures that your application is handled with precision and care.

2. Application Assistance: From documentation preparation to filing your petition and advocating on your behalf, we will guide you through each stage of the application process. You never need worry about your application because we are always available for questions.

3. Personalized Support: We understand the emotional significance of family reunification and are committed to providing compassionate support, addressing your concerns, and keeping you informed throughout the application process.

Optimizing Your Immigration Journey

As your trusted immigration attorney, Katharine's commitment goes beyond just filing paperwork. She will prioritize your peace of mind by simplifying the complex legal procedures and doing everything possible to ensure your application meets the necessary criteria for approval.

Contact Us

Embarking on the journey to legalize your family's status or bring your family together in the United States requires a knowledgeable and compassionate legal advocate. Attorney Katharine Speer Rosenthal is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards obtaining permanent residency or citizenship for yourself or your loved ones. 

Thank you for considering our services to guide you through this important process.

Disclaimer: This information is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The immigration process is highly variable based on individual circumstances. Consultation with a qualified immigration attorney is recommended for personalized guidance.

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