Experienced Green Card and Visa Attorney in Mount Laurel New  Jersey for Family Immigration and reunification

Located in Mt. Laurel New Jersey, Mr. Connell is highly skilled and experienced in preparing and filing immigration petitions for individuals and family members.

Qualifying Family Relationships:


Qualifying family relationships are grouped into two main categories – immediate relatives and other close family members. Immediate relatives of United States (U.S.) citizens are given special preferential treatment in that
there are no limits on the amount of immediate relatives that may immigrate in the immediate relative category and, as a result, there are no backlogs in the immediate relative category

Who is considered an immediate relative?
The following are immediate relatives:

  • Spouses of U.S. Citizens;
  • Children of U.S. Citizens, if the child is unmarried and under 21; and
  • Parents of U.S. Citizens, if the child has attained the age of 21.



The spousal relationship is one of the most common and easiest ways to immigrate to the U.S. Spouses of U.S. citizens are considered immediate relatives and there are no quotas on the amount of visas in this category. As a result, the spouse will have an immediately available visa number.

If the non-citizen spouse is in the U.S. pursuant to a lawful admission, the spouse may file for an immigrant visa and permanent residence simultaneously.  Upon applying for the visa petition and adjustment of status to permanent residence, the spouse may obtain work authorization, and, in certain circumstances, travel permission. As long as the spouse made a lawful entry into the U.S., the spouse will be forgiven for most other “status-related” immigration violations such as work without authorization and overstaying a period of authorized stay.

What specific criterion must the marriage meet to be considered valid?
For a marriage to be considered valid it must meet the following criteria:


  • The marriage must have been valid at the time it was performed;
  • The marriage must still be in existence at the time the immigration process in completed (and not just when the application is submitted); and
  • The marriage must not have been entered into for immigration purposes.

Common law marriages and same sex marriages are valid for immigration purposes if the laws of the place of residence legally recognize common law marriage.

Conditional Permanent Residence for new marriages:

A foreign-born spouse who has been married to the petitioner for less than two years is given conditional permanent residence for two years. Conditional permanent residence provides the same benefits as regular permanent residence; however, the spouse must take additional steps at the end of the two year conditional period to maintain permanent resident status. If the spouse does not file a petition to remove conditions on residence at the end of the two year period, the conditional permanent resident status automatically terminates and the foreign spouse is out of status, and may be deportable.

Marriages entered into while in removal proceedings:

There is a presumption of fraud if a marriage is entered into while the foreign spouse is in removal proceedings. Such marriages are subjected to strict scrutiny by USCIS and the married couple must submit extensive evidence to demonstrate that the marriage is, indeed, valid.

The Connell Immigration Law Group, LLC Is a New Jersey Based Law firm highly experienced in providing advice and representation in applying for green cards based upon sponsorship through marriage, parents adult children and sibling relationships

Fiancé Visas

In order to obtain a fiancé(e) visa a U.S. Citizen may file a petition with United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and must demonstrate:


  • The parties must have met in person within the past two years (in some cases this requirement can be waived);
  • They must have a good faith intention to marry; and
  • They must be legally able and willing to get married within 90 days of the alien’s arrival in the U.S.

After the petition has been approved, the fiancé(e) has 4 months from the time the petition was approved to obtain the K-1 Visa at the U.S. Consulate in the foreign country.


Often, the process of immigrating based on a marriage to a U.S. Citizen spouse can take quite some time. In an effort to shorten the process of family unification, USCIS will grant a K-3 and K-4 visa. The spouse and children of a U.S. citizen may be admitted to the U.S. as K-3 and K-4 nonimmigrants to complete their process for permanent residence.

To be eligible for a K-3 nonimmigrant visa, the individual must meet the following requirements:

  • Be the spouse of a U.S. citizen;
  • Have a pending relative petition, Form I-130, filed with the USCIS; and
  • Have the intent to enter the U.S. in order to await the completion of the permanent residence process.

K-4 nonimmigrants are derivative beneficiaries of the K-3 nonimmigrant. To be eligible for the K-4, the applicant must be unmarried, under 21 years of age, and be the child of the principle K-3 visa applicant or holder.

What happens after the K-3 or K-4 enters the United States?

Once in the U.S., the K-3 or K-4 nonimmigrant must file the application to adjust status to lawful permanent residence. These applications are submitted once the I-130 visa petitions have been approved by USCIS. Once a nonimmigrant has been granted a K-3 or K-4 visa, the individual may travel outside the U.S. and be readmitted with a valid K visa.


Mt. Laurel New Jersey Attorney skilled in  the preparation of and representation for Special Immigrant Visa Petitions

To be eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence as a special immigrant juvenile, the applicant must: be under 21; unmarried; and, have been declared a ward of a U.S. court, eligible for long-term foster care or have been placed in the custody of a state agency. There must also be a determination, reached through administrative or judicial proceedings that it would not be in the child’s best interests to be returned to their home country. The decision reached by a court regarding the child is final and binding on the USCIS.

Special immigrant juveniles are forgiven for many of the grounds of inadmissibility that otherwise apply to immigrants including:

  • Entry without inspection;
  • Inadmissibility at the time of entry, except when it is based on criminal convictions, drug violations, national security grounds and participation in Nazi activities;
  • Failure to maintain valid nonimmigrant status;
  • Working without authorization; and
  • Prostitution.

A child who receives permanent residency through the special juvenile immigrant category cannot petition for residency for their natural or adoptive parents.


If an beneficiary is not an immediate relative e.g. husband or wife of a U.S. Citizen or Green Card holder (permanent resident), then they must be in one of the specified family relationships to immigrate. Not all family relationships serve as a basis to immigrate. The following are other relatives that are eligible to be sponsored to the U.S.

  • First preference (FB-1): Unmarried adult (over 21) sons and daughters of U.S. citizens;
  • Second preference (FB-2A and FB-2B): Spouses and unmarried minor (under 21) children of permanent residents;
  • Third preference (FB-3): Married adult (over 21) sons and daughters of U.S. citizens; and
  • Fourth Preference (FB-4): Siblings of U.S. citizens.

Visas are allocated based on the type of relationship with a certain allotment of visas going to each of the preference categories. Visas are then further allocated based on the country in which the intending immigrant was born.

What is a priority date?

The priority date is the date on which the immigrant visa petition (I-130) is accepted for processing by USCIS. Immigrant visas are then issued in chronological order in each of the preference categories based on priority dates.

If I apply for my family member, can his or her immediate family also immigrate with him or her?

The individual obtaining the immigrant visa in the various categories is called the principal beneficiary. Those individuals immigrating with the principal beneficiary are called derivative beneficiaries. In the immediate relative categories, derivative beneficiaries may not immigrate with the principal beneficiary. However, in the other preference categories, derivatives may immigrate with the principal beneficiary. Those immediate family members of the principal beneficiary may obtain the same status as the principal beneficiary if they are accompanying or following-to-join the principal beneficiary.

Mt. Laurel New Jersey Immigration Law Firm

Phone: 856.778.0590; Fax 856.874.4604 

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Our Office

  • Mount Laurel Office


    1288 Route 73 South
    Suite 301
    Mount Laurel, New Jersey 08054

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Ratings & Reviews

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    I was searching for an attorney to assist in obtaining a visa for my British fiance to obtain a K1 visa to enter the US so we could be married and would allow her to obtain a green card and permanent residency.

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  • avvo

    I would like to thank attorney connell for helping me and my family with all our concerns regarding immigrations. he did an awesome job in regard with helping us bring our sister and be with us here in united states. we don't regret at all ...
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