Family-Based Immigration

U.S. citizens and permanent residents may petition to sponsor close relatives. For citizens, these relatives include spouses, children, parents and siblings. Permanent residents can sponsor spouses and children.

Our office will determine eligibility, prepare necessary petitions and applications, advise on adequacy of supporting documentation, attend interviews with our clients, and attend to all follow-up matters necessary to obtain permanent residency either through stateside adjudication by the Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or through visa processing at the U.S consular posts abroad.  If there are potential grounds of inadmissibility, we will assess those and prepare waivers if necessary.


Citizenship (Naturalization)

Naturalization is the immigration process through which lawful permanent residents become U.S. citizens. Atom Law Group has assisted hundreds of immigrants become Citizens. In fact, the founding partners of Atom Law Group personally became US citizens through this process many years ago!

If you have a Green Card, why become a Citizen?

  • The freedom to travel outside of the U.S. for as long as you wish

  • The freedom to vote in government elections

Here are the requirements that you must meet to become a U.S. citizen:

1. Good Moral Character

You must establish “good moral character” under the legal definition for a minimum amount of time. This is a key area that must be discussed with your attorney prior to applying. In cases where it cannot be established, applying could have a devastating effect of even causing the Green Card to be lost.

2. Continuous Residence

ou must have continuously resided in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for at least 5 years leading up to the date of filing the application and up to the time of admission as a citizen.

3. Physical Presence

You must be physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of applying.

4. Age

You must be at least 18 years old at the time of filing for naturalization. Children under 18 years old may automatically obtain citizenship when one of their parents is naturalized through a process called “derivative citizenship.”

5. Lawful Admission as a Permanent Resident

You must have been admitted as a lawful permanent resident for at least 5 years at the time of your application.

6. English Language Proficiency

Subject to some exceptions, through an examination, you must demonstrate a certain level of understanding of English.

7. Knowledge of Civics and History

Through an examination, you must have a certain level of understanding of knowledge and an understanding of some key facts of U.S. history and the U.S. government.

If the above requirements are met, there are 4 steps that you must go through to become a citizen:
  1. The filing of the N-400 Naturalization Application.
  2. Once notice is received, scheduling and attending a Naturalization biometrics appointment.
  3. Attend your naturalization interview and exams.
  4. If approved, take Oath of Allegiance and receive your Certificate of Naturalization
How long does it take?

The entire naturalization process takes approximately a year, but this is simply an average estimate. Sometimes applications move faster, but often, slower.

Green Card (Permanent Residence)

For over a decade, Atom Law Group has successfully guided hundreds of applicants through the process of obtaining Green Cards. The founding partners of this firm are themselves immigrants who went through this same process years ago! Our firm is possible because of the family-based immigration process. It is a privilege to be able to help others to achieve their American Dream now. So we take this service very personally.

Below is a simple overview. Our team assists you each step of the way, but it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the process.

Being a Permanent Resident status allows a family member to live and work in the United States permanently. A Green Card is a different name for Permanent Residency.

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) allocates family-based immigrant visas allowed by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) vastly determines eligibility of applicants.


The application process requires at least two family members:

a petitioner who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident that wants to sponsor a foreign family member and

a beneficiary, the foreign family member that wants to obtain a green card. The beneficiary may have a spouse and children that may possibly qualify as derivative beneficiaries as well.


All family-based immigrants fall into one of two major categories: immediate relative or family preference. The below chart highlights who is eligible for these two categories and their key distinctions.

Which description fits you?


-Unlimited number of visas available

-Relatively short wait period

-Spouse of a U.S. citizen

-Unmarried child (under 21 years of age) of a U.S. citizen

-Parent of a U.S. citizen (who is at least 21 years old)

-Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen

-Orphan to be adopted in the United States by a U.S. citizen

-EXCEPTION: foreign fiancé to come to the United States for the purpose of marriage


-Limited number of visas available

-Much longer wait period

-Unmarried, adult sons and daughters (age 21 or over) of U.S. citizens

-Spouses and unmarried children (under age 21) of permanent residents

-Unmarried adults sons and daughters of permanent residents

-Married sons and daughters (any age) of U.S. citizens

-Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens

Regardless of which of the two categories you fit into above, the two ways you can apply for a green card are via consular processing or adjustment of status.

The below chart will help you understand which process is appropriate for you


Consular Processing

-You apply through U.S. embassy or consulate in a foreign country (the only option if you are outside the U.S., but also optional to you if you are already in the U.S.

-Takes approximately 4 to 12 months for “immediate relatives” and likely much longer for “family-preference immigrants”

-Denials are final


1) Submit & obtain approval of the petition

2) Obtain visa number

3) Submit application for visa

4) Attend interview outside the U.S.

5) Enter the U.S.

Adjustment of Status

-Allows a temporary visitor to change status to a permanent resident if the individual lawfully entered the U.S.

-Can remain in the U.S. while application is pending, and may be eligible to work in the U.S. while application is pending

-Generally 8 to 14 months for family-based applications and often longer for other application types

-Denial may be challenged


1) File petition & application

2) Attend interview in the U.S.

3) Receive Green Card

The above is a very simple overview and each case has unique aspects, but we have seen most scenarios over the years. Feel free to contact us to better understand how the process can work for you if you are eligible.

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