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Uniting immigrant family members is a multi-step undertaking

The fire of love burns hot and the color that usually is associated with that is red. But as anyone in Kentucky knows who has tried to keep the embers of love alive when immigration is required, the more desired color is green. The green card is the objective of anyone seeking to gain permanent resident status in the U.S. and having that represents the green light for it to happen.

As we noted in a post several months ago, it can take years to get a family fully reunited. But it is not impossible to achieve. As with any journey, this most important is the first step. In this case, it's filing Form I-130 - the Petition for Alien Relative. The steps that come after, however, can be daunting without the help of skilled legal counsel.

If we were to try to list all the possible rungs a petitioner might have to climb to reach the top immigration goal, it would take a great deal more space than we have here. What follows is a brief look at some of the questions the State Department says it receives most often and their answers.

A great deal hinges on Form I-130. The spouse who is either a citizen of the U.S. or a lawful permanent resident files this document. In addition, a petition form needs to be submitted for each child wishing to be brought to the U.S.

Wrinkles can develop if the person filing the petition has a change of status. For example, if you filed the initial forms as a lawful permanent resident but have since become a U.S. citizen, new petitions may have to be filled out.

If the petitions are approved, they are sent to the government's National Visa Center for more processing. If you don't have an attorney's representation, you will need to fill out another form. Then you'll be informed about the necessary fees. Once those are paid for each family member, more documents will be called for.

You see from just this quick view that there are a lot of steps to take. The path can be hard to see because steps can change depending on your unique circumstances. An experienced attorney can serve as guide in finding the way to proceed.

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