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Family based immigration – What are your options?

By August 13, 2017 No Comments

Immigration procedures and laws in the United States change quite frequently, especially whenever the Congress has a chance to vote on this subject. And when you are planning to obtain family immigration in the US, you need an immigration lawyer to take care of these changes.

You expect your immigration lawyer to expertly deal with these changes in the immigration procedures and to guide you through it. As we understand that the immigration process in the US can be quite confusing and daunting at times, you would need good professional assistance and some basic information to successfully cross this maze.

These confusions are usually arising due to the variety of visa options, along with various immigration types. Thousands of individuals from all around the world come in the United States every year to work, visit or even to get residential access.

However, to make a visit or to obtain residency in the US, along with your family – family based immigration, you need to know the different options available at your disposal and ways to make the most of it. It is complicated to obtain a legal and valid immigration without fulfilling all the legalities and formalities that are part and parcel of the extensive immigration process in the United States.

To get through these complications and to have some basic information about the different visas and immigration options, your best bet is to hire the assistance of  an immigration lawyer.

However, to assist you with it, let us have a look at the basic information related to obtaining family based immigration in the US.


What are the eligibility requirements of Family sponsorship?

Whether you are eligible to avail family sponsorship, or not, depends on the individual situation. For instance, you can be eligible to raise an application for the US Green Card by using a petition, which is family based, to have your relatives residing in the US to get the status of US citizenship or let’s say permanent residents (commonly known as the LPR – lawful permanent resident). Similarly, some members of your family may also be eligible to petition you to get a Green Card.


Visa categories for Family based immigration

There are basically two groups of visa categories offered for family based immigration. These categories are Family preference and immediate relative.

Immediate relative

These visa types are generally based on family relationship with a citizen of the United States

IR-1 – Spouse of the US citizen

IR-2 – 21 years of age unmarried child of a citizen of the US

IR-3 – Adopted orphan by the citizen of the US

IR-4 – Orphan that will be adopted by the US citizen and in the US

IR-5 – Parent of the citizen of US who is 21 years of age at least


Family preference

These types of visas are for more distant, specific, family relationships with the citizens of the US and the relationship (specified) with the LPR.

F1 – Family First Preference: Unmarried daughter and sons of a citizen of the US along with minor children if any

F2 – Family second preference:  Minor children, spouses and unmarried daughters and sons of LPRs (21 years of age or over)

F3 – Family third preference:  Married daughters and sons of the citizen of the US, and their minor children and spouses

F4 – Family Fourth Preference: Sisters and brothers of the citizens of the US, their minor children, and spouses but the US citizen must of 21 years of age at least.

There is only a specific quantity of visas available in the Family preference category annually. However, there are an unlimited amount of visas available in the category of an immediate relative.


Family based immigration – a four step process

There are some specific steps that must be followed if the citizen of the US, as a lawful permanent resident, intends to sponsor the members of the family, successfully. These are;

  • Permanent resident or the citizen of the US files a visa petition
  • USCIS takes a decision regarding the visa petition
  • Family preference relatives wait till the availability of the visa
  • Immigrant applies for the Green Card or immigration visa


Before we discuss the need of getting professional assistance in these steps, let us have a brief look at each of these steps for your better understanding.

Step #1 – Filing a Petition

In order to start the immigration process, the lawful permanent resident of the US or family member will be required to mail the visa petition to USCIS Form I-130, in addition to few accompanying documents, to USCIS – US Citizenship and Immigration Services. The LRP however, must prove that the family relationship is close and real.

 Step #2 – USCIS Takes a Decision

As soon as USCIS receives a petition, the officers make a decision whether the petition should be approved or to deny the request. In the case the petition is approved, the case is then forwarded for further processing to National Visa Center.

Otherwise, in the case of rejection, the petitioner may choose to file a new petition after determining the changes that need to be made to raise the chances of approval.

Once the petition is approved, it is then forwarded by the USCIS to the NVC – National Visa Center for additional proceedings.


Step #3 – Family Relatives Waiting for the Visa Availability

This step is only valid if the petitioner is a part of the family preference group. Relatives other than the ones which are considered immediate, will not be eligible for the permanent residency right away. This is because the US puts a limit (annual) on the amount of Green Cards which will be approved. Thus, other immigrants are supposed to join the waiting list and will have to wait at least one year before they learn if a visa is possibly available.


Step #4 – Immigrant Applies for Green Card or Visa

In the case, the petition is approved, and the visa is now available, the immigrant will then be required to submit an application to get permanent residency. This is generally completed by applying at the US Consulate, for an immigrant visa, outside the US. And then being in the United States, the immigrant can easily apply to get the Green Card.


 Why should you take the assistance of immigration lawyers for obtaining family based immigration?

Since there are only limited visas available in the category of family preference, getting the application approved in the first place is vital. If you are an immediate relative, you might think that there are unlimited visas available and might not consider getting the assistance of immigration lawyer but you must also know that the availability of visas is not the only problem; the real technicality is to prepare a proper application to get these visas approved.

Another important reason to get the help of a professional is that, every case first needs to be assessed from a different perspective before you opt for family based immigration. And for this reason, the assessment should be made by the person who is well-versed in dealing with the immigration procedures and laws of the United States.

Therefore, even if the concept of family based immigration may seem straightforward, there are a lot many legalities, formalities, details, and exceptions that must be taken care of. Instead of having your application rejected or missing out on any important detail in your application, the best approach is to consult an experienced immigration lawyer such as The Law Offices of LaSusa& Deb PLLC  to get your visa approved, successfully.