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Family Immigration Lawyer Chicago

Many immigrants face difficulties navigating the immigration process for themselves and their families as they plan entry into the U.S. Our trusted family immigration lawyer in Chicago can help reunite and keep your family together during the immigration process. Contact us for a free 15-minute consultation today to discuss your situation.

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Immigration Law

All You Need to Know

Family Immigration Law Explained

Starting a new life in the U.S. with family is a dream for many. The Chicago-based family immigration lawyers at SimVisa excel at helping clients with family-based immigration.

The United States government offers family-based visas to reunite citizens and lawful permanent residents with close family members. Understanding the different types of visas is crucial to finding the one that best suits your situation and purposes.

Immediate relative visas offer a faster path for spouses, parents, and unmarried minor children of U.S. citizens. Family preference categories open the door for other family members but come with longer wait times and quotas. Our experienced team can help you understand your options.

What Is Family-Based Immigration?

Family-based immigration allows foreign nationals to obtain permanent residency in the United States through family relationships with American citizens or permanent residents residing in the U.S. The process begins with the sponsoring relative filing an immigration petition on behalf of a loved one, the beneficiary.

U.S. citizens can sponsor:

  • Spouses
  • Children under 21 (if married before turning 18)
  • Parents (for sons/daughters over 21)
  • Sons or daughters over 21
  • Brothers or sisters

Permanent residents can sponsor:

  • Spouses
  • Unmarried children
  • Spouse's unmarried children under 21

A skilled immigration lawyer with SimVisa can explain each of these immigration pathways in greater detail.

The Role of Family Immigration Lawyers

The legal process involved in reuniting with family in the U.S. can be overwhelming. That's where SimVisa’s experienced family immigration lawyers come in.

Our lawyers have an intimate knowledge of the relevant legal requirements, visa categories, and ever-changing immigration laws. They can guide you through every crucial step, from the initial consultation to filing your application and preparing for interviews.

Don't risk delays or denials due to mistakes in paperwork or a lack of legal understanding. Our experience can help ensure that your application is complete and compliant, increasing your chances of success.

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Challenges in Family-Based Immigration: How SimVisa Can Help

Reconnecting with your loved ones shouldn't feel like an impossible task. Our experienced lawyers know how to overcome common hurdles, including the following.

Proving a Bona Fide Marriage (for Spouse Visas)

You’ll be expected to provide strong evidence demonstrating a genuine relationship with your loved one. Our team can help you tell a compelling story.

Long Waiting Periods

Family visas often have lengthy processing times. We’ll inform you about average wait times and keep you updated at every stage.

Complex Application Procedures

The family-based immigration application process can be complicated and potentially confusing. Our lawyers will ensure that your application is complete and accurate and meets all legal requirements.

Interview Jitters

You or your loved ones may be asked to submit to an interview with USCIS officials. We can help you prepare, giving you the confidence to present yourself in the best possible light.

Don't face these challenges alone. Contact SimVisa today for essential guidance and support on your family immigration journey.

Types of Family-Based Immigrant Visas

There are two types of family-based immigrant visas available in the United States:

  • Immediate Relative Visa: Close family members of U.S. citizens, like spouses, children under 21, or parents; no annual limit applies to this category.
  • Family Preference Visa: Distant relatives of U.S. citizens and specified relationships with lawful permanent residents; annual limit on the number of visas available.

Each visa category comes with distinct requirements, terms, and limitations. As such, it’s wise to discuss your situation with a qualified immigration attorney.

Immediate Relative Visas

At SimVisa, we understand the importance of being with your loved ones. Immediate relative visas offer a faster path to reuniting U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) with their closest family members.

The following individuals qualify as immediate relatives:

  • For U.S. Citizens: Spouses, unmarried minor children under 21, and parents.
  • For Lawful Permanent Residents: Only spouses can be sponsored for immediate relative visas, with an initial two-year conditional residency period.

Note that other terms and conditions may apply for immediate relatives traveling from certain countries.

Sponsoring Immediate Relatives

The sponsoring relative (citizen or green card holder) must petition USCIS on behalf of the qualifying family member. This petition initiates the application process and establishes your relationship. We'll guide you through this step and ensure you meet all eligibility requirements.

Contact SimVisa today to discuss your options and take the first step toward bringing your family together in the U.S.

Family Preference Visas

Family preference categories apply to familial relationships beyond immediate relatives. U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents can petition for foreign loved ones based on the following categories:

  • First Preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters (over 21) of U.S. citizens.
  • Second Preference (F2A): Spouses and unmarried children (under 21) of lawful permanent residents.
  • Second Preference (F2B): Unmarried sons and daughters (over 21) of lawful permanent residents.
  • Third Preference (F3): Married children of U.S. citizens.
  • Fourth Preference (F4): Siblings of U.S. citizens (if the citizen is 21 or older).

If your loved one currently resides outside the U.S., they must undergo consular processing before they can apply for a green card based on family preference.

Annual Caps and Wait Times

Unlike with immediate relative visas, there are limitations on how many family preference visas are issued per category each year. These limitations can impact wait times, which can be as much as several years, depending on the category and your priority date (the date USCIS receives your petition).

Our lawyers can provide valuable insights into current visa caps and how they might affect your specific situation.

Secure Your Family's Immigration Future

Secure Your Family's Future

Borders shouldn’t come between you and those you care about. Connect with SimVisa to begin working on your case with a capable Chicago-based family immigration attorney.

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Understanding the Costs of Family-Based Immigration

While you can’t put a price on being with your family, the immigration process does involve certain costs. With that in mind, it can be helpful to understand the financial aspects of family-based immigration in Chicago.

The government filing fees for family immigration include:

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative: The starting point for most family immigration applications; costs vary depending on the category.
  • Form I-485, Adjustment of Status (If Applicable): For applicants already in the U.S. to obtain a green card.
  • Biometric Fees: Fingerprinting and background checks.
  • Additional Fees for Forms and Applications: Depending on the specifics of your case.

Additionally, all applicants must undergo a mandatory medical exam by a USCIS-approved doctor. Costs vary by provider.

Contact SimVisa today to discuss your family immigration goals and develop a cost-effective strategy to bring your loved ones to the U.S.

SohYoon Atac
Co-founder of SimVisa with over 17 years of experience in immigration law.


  • Juris Doctorate - Chicago Kent College of Law
  • Bachelor's Degree - The University of Chicago
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Family Immigration Services

The experienced immigration attorneys at SimVisa provide a full range of family-based immigration services to fit all manner of legal needs, including the following.

  • Marriage Green Card

    Through Adjustment of Status

    If you're already in the United States and married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you can secure your marriage-based green card through adjustment of status (AOS) without leaving the country.

    *prices do not include government fees and may vary based on case complexity

  • Marriage Green Card

    Through Consular Processing

    If you reside abroad and are married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you may be able to obtain your marriage green card through consular processing, applying from your home country's U.S. consulate or embassy.

    *prices do not include government fees and may vary based on case complexity

  • Petition for Alien Relative (I-130)

    Begin the process of bringing your loved ones to the U.S. with Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relatives, which is designed to facilitate family reunification.

    *prices do not include government fees and may vary based on case complexity

  • K-1 Fiancé Visa

    Our immigration attorneys help engaged couples procure fiancé visas for their foreign partners.

    *prices do not include government fees and may vary based on case complexity

  • Adjustment of Status

    Change your immigration status while in the U.S. with an adjustment of status and cement your path to permanent residency.

    *prices do not include government fees and may vary based on case complexity

  • Parent Visa (IR-5)

    Bring your parent(s) to live permanently in the U.S. with an IR-5 (parent visa), which will grant them lawful permanent resident status and make your family whole again.

    *prices do not include government fees and may vary based on case complexity

  • Parent Visa (AOS)

    If your parent(s) are already in the country, help them become lawful permanent residents through the parent visa AOS process.

    *prices do not include government fees and may vary based on case complexity

  • Child Visa (CR-2)

    Reunite with a child living overseas by obtaining a CR-2 (child visa) that allows them to join you as a lawful permanent resident in the U.S.

    *prices do not include government fees and may vary based on case complexity

  • Removal of Conditions (I-751)

    We can help you remove the conditions on a green card obtained through marriage when the marriage was less than two years old.

    *prices do not include government fees and may vary based on case complexity

  • Spousal Visa (CR-1/IR-1)

    We routinely help clients acquire CR-1 or IR-1 spousal visas for beneficiaries outside the U.S.

    *prices do not include government fees and may vary based on case complexity

  • Green Card Renewal

    Our immigration attorneys can provide swift, effective assistance with the renewal of green cards.

    *prices do not include government fees and may vary based on case complexity

  •  K-3 visa

    Expedite the process of reuniting with your spouse with a K-3 Visa, which will speed up their entry to the United States.

    *prices do not include government fees and may vary based on case complexity

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    Hire an Attorney

    With SimVisa, you have the option of receiving full-service legal support - for every aspect of your case - with immigration attorneys from a top-quality immigration law firm.

    • Step 1: Initial Consultation with SimVisa

    • Step 2: SimVisa Fills Out Your Immigration Applications

    • Step 3: SimVisa Prepares Application Package with Evidence

    • Step 4: A SimVisa Attorney Reviews Your Application Package

    • Step 5: SimVisa Submits an Application to USCIS For You

    • Step 6: SImVisa Handles All Communications with USCIS

    • Step 7: SimVisa Monitors Your Case From Start To Finish

    How It Works
  • Quality + Cost Savings


    Have you started your application and then gotten confused? Are you worried you might make a mistake or leave out important supporting documents? SimVisa is the solution. We understand you might want to save on lawyer fees and file on your own. You can relax because SimVisa will prepare your application under the supervision of an immigration attorney. You will even get a one hour video conference with an immigration attorney after SimVisa prepares your forms.

    • Step 1: SimVisa collects information and documents from you through our online portal

    • Step 2: SimVisa fills out your forms and prepares your supporting documents

    • Step 3: A SimVisa immigration attorney goes over your filled-out application and supporting documents with you (1-hour video consultation)

    • Step 4: SimVisa finalizes your packet with attorney approval

    • Step 5: SimVisa delivers your packet to your door

    • Step 6: You file with USCIS

    How It Works
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Why Choose SimVisa for Family-Based Immigration?

Working with the seasoned team at SimVisa offers numerous benefits, including the following.

  • Immigration Law Experience

    Our attorneys have over a decade of experience processing family-based and marriage-based visa applications.

  • Partnerships

    We partner with experienced family immigrant advisors to review the applications we process.

  • Communication

    We’ll stay in direct contact to address your questions and concerns and gather the information we need.

Why Choose Simvisa for Family-Based Immigration?
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We have a high success rate in approvals


We treat you with compassion, dignity & respect


We create tailored solutions for your business & family

What Our Clients Are Saying


Read what our satisfied clients have to say about their positive experiences and successful outcomes with SimVisa's immigration services.

FAQs About Family-Based Immigration

Our clients have a lot of questions. Here are the answers to some of those most frequently asked.

  • Can I apply for U.S. citizenship after obtaining a green card through family-based immigration?

    You may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship via naturalization after obtaining a green card through family-based immigration.

    Generally, you can apply for naturalization if you meet specific requirements, including maintaining lawful permanent resident status for a designated period, meeting physical presence and residency requirements, and demonstrating good moral character.

    It’s advisable to consult an immigration attorney, who can assess your eligibility and guide you through the naturalization process.

  • How long does the family-based immigration process usually take?

    The timeline can vary significantly depending on the relationship between the U.S. sponsor and the foreign relative and the country of origin due to visa caps and backlogs. Here are some general figures:

    • For minor children of U.S. citizens (under 21), the process typically takes 10–13 months.
    • For spouses of U.S. citizens living in the United States, it takes an average of 13–20 months to get a marriage-based green card.
    • For immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, most Form I-130 petitions are approved within 10–14 months.
    • For spouses of U.S. permanent residents, it currently takes USCIS an average of 18 months to process Form I-130, plus additional time for green cards to become available.
    • For family preference categories, the wait times can range from several years to over 20 years, depending on the category and the country of origin.

    Note that these timeframes are subject to change and can be affected by various factors, including USCIS processing times, annual visa caps, and the specifics of your case. Check the current processing times and visa bulletin for the latest information.

Let Us Help You

Have Questions? Reach Out Today!

If you have questions or need assistance reaching your immigration goals, don't hesitate to contact SimVisa for a free, no-obligation case review. We look forward to helping you find happiness with your loved ones in the U.S.

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Immigration Resources

Updated: 09.11.22
By SimVisa

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