Obtain Family Sponsored Immigration Visas for your Fiancée, Spouse, Children, Parents or Extended Relatives

Family Sponsored Immigrant Visa -Wisconsin immigration lawyer in Milwaukee

Our law firm offers a Wisconsin immigration lawyer in Milwaukee who facilitates the U.S. visa process for your family. Specifically, we can assist you to obtain a family sponsored (family based) immigrant visa for immediate or extended family members to receive immigration benefits. We provide a straightforward procedure to help your family legally immigrate to the United States as a lawful permanent resident.

One of the most successful ways to obtain a United States green card is through family sponsorship. In conclusion, we recommend you contact a knowledgeable Milwaukee, Wisconsin immigration lawyer to determine what type of family sponsored visa petition is available for your relatives.

United States Green Card Lawyer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Frequently Asked Questions About US Immigration through a Family Member

  • What types of family based visas are there?
  • Are there qualification criteria for an I-130 family sponsored immigration visa?
  • What is the procedure to sponsor a family member to come to the United States?
  • What happens if my visa petition or application is denied?
  • How long does it take to obtain an immigration visa through a family member?
  • If my sponsor obtains citizenship does that affect my visa petition?
  • What are the immigration benefits available to get a visa through family sponsored immigration?
  • Will I be able to work in the US if I get a green card through my family member?
  • Is my family member eligible for a visa if they are already in the US illegally?

Our Milwaukee Immigration Attorney Works to Reunite Your Family through US Immigration

What types of I-130 family sponsored immigration visas exist?
  • There is an unlimited number of Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas for immediate relatives (IR) of US citizens
    • ​​IR-1:  Spouse of a US citizen
    • IR-2:  Unmarried child of a US citizen under age 21
    • IR-3:  Orphan adopted abroad by a US citizen
    • IR-4:  Orphan to be adopted in the US by a US citizen 
    • IR-5:  Parent of a US citizen who is at least 21 years old
  • ​There are a limited number of Family Preference Immigrant Visas
    • F1:  Family First Preference – Unmarried child of a US citizen, and their minor children.
    • F2:  Family Second Preference – Spouses, minor children, and unmarried child aged 21 and over of a US permanent resident.​
    • F3:  Family Third Preference – Married child of a US citizen, and their spouse and minor children.
    •  F4:  Family Fourth Preference – Brothers or sisters of US citizens who are at least 21 years old, and their spouses and minor children.
  • You may also sponsor your fiancée and that person’s children to join you in the United States by obtaining a K-1 visa.
  • However, grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and cousins are not eligible to sponsor a relative for immigration.
What are the qualification criteria to sponsor someone for a family based immigrant visa?
Age of Sponsor:  

To file an immigration petition for a sibling or parent the US citizen must be age 21 or older.  There is no minimum age for a sponsor to file any other family based immigration petition for a visa, except that the sponsor must be at least 18 and have a US residence to sign an affidavit of support. If you have questions about qualifying to sponsor your family for a visa, a Wisconsin immigration lawyer in Milwaukee can guide you.

Sponsor’s Residency in the US

To file an immigrant petition for a family member the sponsor must maintain his or her principal residence in the United States.

What is the procedure to sponsor a relative to come to the United States?
Determine your visa category.

Determine what visa category or categories under which your family would be eligible to sponsor you.

File a petition for a visa

File either of the following petitions:

  • an I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • I-129f, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) by a sponsoring relative

Specifically, if your petition ​is approved and your relative is already in the United States he or she may apply to adjust status to become a permanent resident after a visa number becomes available. However, if your petition is approved and your relative is outside the United States, the petition will be sent to the National Visa Center for Consular Processing.  Please note, an approved visa petition does not grant any benefit, it only creates a place in line (priority date) for visa processing.


Wait for your priority date to become the most recent qualifying date for your immigration preference category.  If a ​visa is not immediately available for your visa category, the NVC will send you a notice that your petition was received and is being held until a visa is available. When the visa petition’s priority date is current the National Visa Center will send a choice of address and agent form, DS-3032, to you or to your attorney. During this time please be sure to stay in contact with your attorney. At our Milwaukee, Wisconsin immigration law firm we frequently hear from clients who come to us because they lost contact with their prior immigration lawyer. Make sure to keep in touch with your attorney while you wait for your visa!

Pay the appropriate fees

An invoice listing the fees will be provided by the NVC.

Submit required immigrant visa documents 

Submit any documents requested by the National Visa Center to support your visa petition. Requested documents may include an affidavit of support (Form I-864), application forms, and other documents.  Do not submit documents unless they were requested by NVC. Typically the following documents are required:  

  • a passport valid for 60 days beyond the immigrant visa expiration date
  • affidavit of support form I-864
  • application for an immigrant visa and alien registration form DS-230
  • completed medical exam forms
  • 2 photographs
  • birth certificates
  • court and prison records
  • deportation documentation
  • marriage certificates
  • documentation of marriage termination
  • military records
  • petitioner documents
  • photograph of valid passport biographic data page
  • police certificates
  • adoption documents.  

See the US Department of State for document requirements.  

Complete a medical exam and obtain the required vaccinations

Every applicant must undergo a medical examination by an authorized panel physician before the issuance of an immigrant visa. Everyone must obtain a medical examination, regardless of age or type of family sponsored immigration visa you have.  You should complete your medical examination before your scheduled interview or processing of your immigrant visa will be delayed.

Attend a visa interview 

Your immigration interview will occur at your US embassy or consulate.  Once the visa application is complete at the NVC they will schedule the applicant’s interview.  Of course, you must attend your interview to obtain your visa. In particular, at your interview you will answer questions about your application and have your biometrics collected. Specifically, biometrics normally include fingerprints, a photograph, and your signature.  You should also bring any documents not already provided in support of your application regardless of whether they have expired, including your passport.  

A consular official will complete your application’s processing and decide whether to grant your immigrant visa.  The consular officials at US embassies and consulates possess the sole authority to adjudicate (approve or deny) visa applications.  If the official grants your visa, the official provides you with a “Visa Packet.” You must present the visa packet to the Customs and Border Protection Officer when you enter the United States.  Do not open the Visa Packet.  

Pay your Immigrant Fee

You must normally pay your immigrant fee after you receive an immigrant visa and before you travel to the United States.  

Travel to the United States

You must enter the US before the expiration date printed on your visa.  ​When traveling, the primary applicant must enter the US before or at the same time as family members holding visas.  A visa does not guarantee entry to the United States.  When you enter the United States you must give your Visa Packet to the Customs Officer at the port of entry. You will be inspected by customs.

If the customs officer finds you admissible, you will receive admission to the United States as an immigrant with permanent residency, able to permanently live and work in the US.  Once you have been admitted to the U.S., your permanent resident card, form I-551 will be mailed to you. In the past, the permanent resident card was formerly called an Alien Registration Card. People commonly refer to a permanent resident card as a green card.

Apply for a social security card

If you did not elect to have your social security card issued upon admission to the US, you can apply for a social security card following your arrival through the Social Security Administration

What are my options if my visa petition or application is denied?
  • If the visa petition is denied the denial letter will tell you how to appeal and when you must file an appeal.  The appeal will be referred to the Board of Immigration Appeals.  
  • Note, the purpose of an approved visa petition only suffices to demonstrate a qualifying relationship.  Indeed, an approved petition does not grant any benefit, it only creates a place in line (priority date) for visa processing.  The consular officials at United States Embassies and Consulates hold sole authority to approve or deny visa applications.
  • If the consular official finds you ineligible, your visa application will be denied.  The official will give you a reason for the denial of your visa, called ineligibility.  You can overcome some ineligibilities, however, other ineligibilties are permanent unless the Department of Homeland Security authorizes a waiver of that ineligibility.
  • You will not receive a refund of your money.  Specifically, the fees that you paid are non-refundable application processing fees.
  • After being found ineligible you may reapply in the future.  In most cases, you must submit a new visa application and pay the fees again. 
  • Especially if you have questions about why your U.S. immigrant visa petition was denied, our Wisconsin immigration lawyer in Milwaukee is here to help.
How long does it take to obtain a US immigration visa through a relative?
  • When the number of qualified applicants for any family-based preference category exceeds the number of immigrant visas available, the excess applications receive placement on a wait list.  Immigration visas are issued based on the chronological order in which the petitions were filed, by date.  The date you filed your petition is the visa applicant’s priority date.  A priority date differs based on country of origin and under which preference category you filed your family sponsored immigration petition.  The US State Department publishes current priority dates in a monthly visa bulletin.
  • If you are a US citizen petitioning for your alien spouse and children, you may petition for them to enter the United States on a non-immigrant K-3/K-4 visa using form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), while waiting for adjudication of your I-130 petition.  The Petition for Alien Fiancée is the correct form, even though you must be married to receive a K-3 visa.
What happens to my immigrant visa petition if my sponsor becomes a citizen while I am waiting?

When a petitioner becomes a US citizen after filing a family sponsored immigration petition for a spouse or minor child as a lawful permanent resident, the petitioner must convert those petitions from F2 (family 2nd preference) to IR (immediate relative) and your spouse and child will become immediately eligible for an immigration visa.  You must submit proof of US citizenship o the National Visa Center.  You must file separate petitions for minor children if you previously included the children in your spouse’s F2 petition when the petitioner was a permanent resident. 

What immigration benefits can sponsored relatives receive?
Immigration benefits for family sponsored visas:
  • When a family sponsored immigration petition receives approval the beneficiary may also apply for immigrant visas for their spouse and unmarried children under age 21.
  • Special protections for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.
    Eligibility for a green card upon admittance to the United States.
  • Eligibilty to work upon admittance to the United States.
  • The ability to apply to become a United States citizen once eligible.
  • A right to apply for a driver’s license in your state.
  • The right to attend public school or college.
  • The right to leave and return to the US under certain circumstances.
Immigration benefits for fiancée visa recipients and those based on a marriage of less than 2 years:
  • ​Once your fiancé(e) receives a K-1 non-immigrant visa it allows your fiancé(e) to enter the United States for 90 days so that the marriage ceremony can take place.  Once you marry your spouse may petition for permanent residence and remain in the US during the application processing  Your spouse may also petition for work authorization immediately after admission to the United States using form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization valid for 90 days after entry, or may petition for extended work authorization together with the form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
  • ​If have been married less than 2 years when your spouse obtains permanent resident status, you will receive a conditional permanent residence.  To remove the conditions you and your spouse must apply together using a petition to remove the conditions of residence, form I-751, within the 90 day period before the expiration date on the conditional resident card.
Will my family members be able to work in the US  if they receive a family-sponsored visa?

​Authorization to work is available immediately upon arrival to the United States for individuals granted admission as permanent residents.  A fiancé(e) admitted on a K-1, or spouse and children admitted as K-3/K-4 visa holders may petition for work authorization upon admission to the United States using form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Our Milwaukee based immigration lawyer in Wisconsin can answer your questions about eligibility to work when you get to the United States.

 Can I sponsor my family member who is already in the US illegally?
Provisional unlawful presence waivers

Your Wisconsin immigration lawyer in Milwaukee is concerned with the amount of time immigration issues may separate US citizens from their qualifying immediate relatives. However, on March 4, 2013 USCIS began accepting provisional unlawful presence waivers using form I-601A. A provisional unlawful presence waiver allows immediate relatives of US citizens who are present in the US and in the process of seeking immigration visas to become lawful permanent residents in the US before departing the United States to attend their immigrant visa interviews.  Waiver recipients must still depart the US for consular processing, however they can apply for the provisional waiver before their depart.

To be eligibile, the applicant must meet all of the following criteria:

  • be an immediate relative of a US citizen
  • inadmissible only on account of unlawful presence
  • must demonstrate that denial of the waiver would result in extreme hardship to the applicant’s US citizen spouse or parent.

An applicant planning to file form I-601A must notify the National Visa Center that they will be seeking a provisional waiver before applying if there is a pending immigrant visa case at NVC.

Finally, contact US immigration attorneys at our law firm in Milwaukee to assist you with any of your Wisconsin immigration law needs today. Also, visit our US Immigration Resources Page for more information.