Family Immigration and Naturalization
Kan-Tor & Acco are your US immigration attorneys and US family immigration law firm of choice in Israel.
Our immigration attorneys provide expert legal counsel for all aspects of family immigration law. For many people, the easiest way to get a US Immigration Visa or Green Card is through Family Sponsorship.
Some kinds of family sponsorship includes:
A K-1 visa us issued to the fiancé of a U.S. citizen where they will marry one another within 90 days of entering the U.S as a K-1 nonimmigrant.
This process includes an application that is submitted to USCIS by the U.S. citizen along with various forms of evidence of the relationship. Following approval, the fiancé(e) will need to attend an interview at their local U.S. Embassy where they will issue the K-1 visa, once approved. This visa allows for a one-time entry to the U.S. and will expire 6 months from the date it was administered.
Can my fiancé travel to the U.S. repeatedly on his/her K-1 visa?
No, the foreign national cannot travel on the K-1 visa. It is only valid for a one-time entry to the U.S. for the purpose of marrying.
Once married, he/she may apply for Lawful Permanent Resident status (green card), and Adjustment of Status in the United States.
What if we don’t get married within 90 days?
The K-1 Visa status expires automatically 90 days after entry to the U.S. and cannot be extended. Generally, your fiancé(e) must leave the U.S. at the end of the 90 days if you do not marry. Failure to do so may result in removal and could affect their future eligibility for U.S. immigration benefits.
What if my foreign-born fiancé has children? Can they immigrate too?
If your fiancé(e) has a child/children who are under 21 and unmarried, they may be eligible to come to the U.S. on the K-2 nonimmigrant visa.
This process is for a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) who wishes to sponsor a green card application for a qualifying relative to receive a green card.
Who qualifies as an immediate family member?
A U.S. Citizen can petition for a Spouse, parents, unmarried child under 21 years of age, a married or unmarried son or daughter 21 years of age or older and for a sibling.
A Legal Permanent Resident can petition for a Spouse, an unmarried child under 21 years of age and unmarried son or daughter older than 21 older.
The amount of time it will take to process these petitions depends on whether the family member is be classified as an immediate relative (spouse, minor child, parents) or falls within a preference category.
How do I apply for a green card for my immediate relative from outside the U.S.?
This process consists of 3 stages:
- I-130 Application to USCIS - this application requires forms and supporting documents to be sent to USCIS. Processing times for this stage can be found on USCIS’s website https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/. Following USCIS’s approval of the application, the application is then transferred to the National Visa Center
- National Visa Center (NVC) - at this stage documents are required to be submitted showing the financial ability of the sponsor or joint sponsor to support the foreign national. A Form DS-260 is also submitted which provides biographical information about the foreign national. Once all documents are submitted, NVC will review the case. The processing times can be found on the Department of State website - https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/nvc-timeframes.html
- Processing the visa application will be determined by the availability of a visa number and the relevant category. Immediate relatives will not have a waiting period, and NVC will request an interview date be assigned upon receipt of the required documents. Family members within a preference category may need to wait several years before proceeding. For further detail see https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin.html.
- U.S. Embassy Interview - At this final stage, the foreign national attends an interview where the legitimacy of the relationship, financial ability of the sponsor or joint sponsor, as well as the intent to relocate to the U.S. are questioned by the Consular Officer.
- The U.S. Embassy issues an immigrant visa to allow the foreign national to enter the U.S. within six months of visa issuance. The actual green card is issued following entry to the U.S.
How do I apply for a green card from within the U.S.?
Adjustment of Status: A sponsor can submit an I-130 Green Card application for a qualifying relative when the foreign national and the sponsor are in the U.S. An Application to Adjust Status (AOS)(Form I-485) is for the foreign national to “adjust” status from a nonimmigrant visa status to a legal permanent resident (Green Card holder) and is filed either with or after filing the I-130.
The AOS application is for the foreign national to “adjust£ status from a nonimmigrant visa status to a legal permanent resident (Green Card holder). Along with this, the sponsor can apply for permission for the foreign national to work and travel prior to the Green Card application being approved. The stage in the process within which to file the AOS is determined by the relevant category. Immediate relatives will not have a waiting period, and may file the I-130 with the I-485. Family members within a preference category may need to wait several years before proceeding.
In certain cases the I-130 process can be expedited by filing at the local U.S. Embassy. Our office can assist with these requests.
What is the expedite process for an I-130?
A U.S. citizen is entitled to apply for expedited processing at the Jerusalem Embassy in certain circumstances in order to bring family members to the U.S. as legal permanent residents. This process replaces USCIS filing.
Who can apply for expedited I-130 processing?
A petitioner can only apply for expedited processing for a spouse or unmarried child under the age of 21.
Each request for an exception will be evaluated individually. If the expedite application is denied, the petitioner can still submit the I-130 application to USCIS.
What might qualify me for expedited processing?
At consular posts abroad DOS “may, but is not required to,” exercise its discretion to accept and adjudicate “clearly approvable” I-130 immediate relative petitions filed under exceptional circumstances without previous approval by USCIS.
Exceptional circumstances include:
- Military emergencies for U.S. service members.
- Medical emergencies of a petitioner or beneficiary.
- The petitioner “living and working abroad, has received a job offer in or reassignment to the United States with little notice for the required start date.” Generally, this is one of the most used of the listed example.
Individuals who were married less than two years at the time in which they applied for the green card will be issued a “conditional” green card, which must be extended to a permanent green card within 2 years. Our office can assist with removing the condition and extending the green card status.
How do I extend my conditional green card?
Three months prior to the expiration of your Green Card, submit an application to remove the condition (Form I-751).
What do I need to prove in order to receive a permanent green card?
The I-751 process focuses upon proving the validity of the marriage, and that it was not entered into in order to obtain an immigration benefit. You will need to submit evidence that proves the bona fide relationship from the date of the marriage until the time of filing date. Examples of relevant evidence include:
- Lease agreements showing shared residence
- Joint ownership of property
- Joint bank statements
- Joint tax returns
- Insurance policies that show the other spouse as the beneficiary
- Affidavits from friends or family members who have known you as a couple and can attest to the validity of the relationshipp
Our office can assist with the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.
What are the requirements for becoming a U.S. citizen?
You must be 18 years old or older at the time of filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization and hold a valid “green card”. You must show that you have been physically present in the United States for 30 months or 18 months if you are married to a U.S. citizen. You will also need to show that you resided in your current residence for three months prior to filing.
How long must I live in the U.S. before I can become a citizen?
The answer to this question is determined by the way in which you obtained your green card. If you are married to a U.S, citizen and applied via Form I-130, you must have been a continuous permanent resident for three (3) years. Employment-based green cards require five (5) years of continuous permanent residence.
How long does it take to process the application for naturalization?
The processing time for the Form N-400 ranges between 10 to 18 months. The processing time will also vary depending on the USCIS field office that deals with your application.
How do I know if I can qualify for citizenship based on my U.S. citizen Grandparent?
INA Section 322 establishes citizenship eligibility through parentage for children who live outside the United States. In order to be eligible for citizenship under this section, the child must satisfy the following requirements:
- The child has at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen by birth in the U.S. or by naturalization.
- The U.S. citizen parent has, at some point, spent five or more years physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions; and at least two of those years were after the parent had reached 14 years of age.
- If the parent is unable to satisfy the above requirement, the parent’s U.S. citizen parent (the child’s grandparent) must meet the same physical presence requirements.
- The child has not yet turned 18.
- The child is residing outside the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. parent, and
- The child is temporarily and lawfully present in the United States (with a visa or green card) and is maintaining lawful status there.
What is the application process for the N-600K.
The application may be filed on-line or directly to the USCIS Lockbox. In addition to Form N-600K, and the requisite civil documents, it is critical to be able to provide documentary support proving the grandparents 5 year period of residence in the U.S.
Provides proof of U.S. citizenship for individuals born outside the U.S.
Who may qualify for a Certificate of Citizenship?
You may file Form N-600 if:
- Are the biological or adopted child of a U.S. citizen
- Entered the U.S. lawfully and have obtained status as a permanent resident; and
- Legally and physically reside with a parent who is a U.S. citizen
Why do I need a Certificate of Citizenship if I have a U.S. passport?
The Certificate of Citizenship serves as primary proof of U.S. citizenship and will never expire. It is sometimes required for certain bank transactions, application for a social security number, and renewal of the passport should the original passport be lost.
Our office can assist with the Consular Report of Birth Abroad process.
Who is eligible to apply for consular report of birth abroad (CRBA)?
A child born outside the United States to a U.S. citizen parent or parents is eligible for U.S. citizenship if the parent(s) meets the requirements for transmitting U.S. citizenship under the Immigration and Nationality Act. U.S. citizens eligible to transmit citizenship are required to file for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA).
A child born outside of the United States to two U.S. citizen parents, in wedlock, is entitled to citizenship, provided one of the parents had, prior to the birth of the child, been resident in the United States. (No specific period of time is required.)
A child born outside of the United States to one U.S. citizen parent and one non-U.S. citizen parent may be entitled to citizenship provided the U.S. citizen parent had been physically present in the United States for five years, at least two years of which were after s/he reached the age of fourteen.
For Children Born Before June 12, 2017:
A child born outside of the United States and out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother may be entitled to U.S. citizenship provided the U.S. Citizen mother had been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of at least one year (365 days) at some time prior to the birth of the child. (NOTE: Periods spent overseas with the U.S. government/military or as a government/military dependent, are NOT considered as physical presence in the U.S. for transmission under this category).
For Children Born On or After June 12, 2017:
A child born outside of the United States and out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother may be entitled to U.S. citizenship provided the U.S. citizen mother had been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for five years, at least two years of which were after she reached the age of fourteen prior to the birth of the child.
A child born outside of the United States and out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen father may be entitled to U.S. citizenship provided the U.S. citizen father had been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for five years, at least two years of which were after he reached the age of fourteen prior to the birth of the child. In addition the U.S. citizen father must acknowledge paternity and agree under oath and in writing at the interview to provide financial support for the child until s/he reaches the age of 18 years.
The CRBA application must be made before the child’s 18th birthday.
A CRBA is not a travel document but rather a certificate. At the time of application, applications for a U.S. passport and a social security number can be made. Both applications may be submitted together at your scheduled appointment.
Our office can assist with renouncing your U.S. citizenship.
How do I give up my U.S. citizenship?
A person wishing to renounce his or her U.S. citizenship must voluntarily and intentionally relinquish U.S. citizenship. The act of renunciation requires the applicant to:
- appear in person before a U.S. consular or diplomatic officer,
- in a foreign country at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate; and
- sign an oath of renunciation
Can I still enter the U.S. for business or tourism after renouncing U.S. citizenship?
Former U.S. citizens are required to obtain a visa to travel to the United States or show that they are eligible for admission pursuant to the terms of the Visa Waiver Program. If the Department of Homeland Security determines that the renunciation is motivated by tax avoidance purposes, the individual will be found inadmissible to the United States.
What about my minor children?
Parents may not renounce the citizenship of their minor children. Minors seeking to renounce their U.S. citizenship must demonstrate to a consular officer that they are acting voluntarily, without undue influence from parent(s), and that they fully understand the implications/consequences attendant to the renunciation of U.S. citizenship.
If I give up my U.S. citizenship do I still have to pay taxes and/or be subject to military service?
Renunciation of U.S. citizenship may have no effect on a person’s U.S. tax or military service obligations. In addition, the act of renouncing U.S. citizenship does not allow persons to avoid possible prosecution for crimes which they may have committed or may commit in the future which violate United States law, or escape the repayment of financial obligations, including child support payments, previously incurred in the United States or incurred as United States citizens abroad.
Can I change my mind and become a citizen again?
In short, no. Please consider the effects of renouncing U.S. citizenship, described above, before taking this serious and irrevocable action.
For more information, see: Renunciation of U.S. Nationality Abroad