The Law Office of David A. Breston believes in the unification of family members and dedicates a good portion of its immigration practice to pursing family-based immigration. Although each situation is unique, where unification is provided for by law, our attorneys make every effort to achieve that result and are committed to exploring all possible legal options an individual may have to immigrate through family members.
Family-based visas in the U.S. operate under two categories: limited and unlimited. A limited visa, or family preference immigrant visa, is for specific and more distant family relationships with a U.S. citizen. The provisions of the United State immigration law state that a limited visa can apply to four different family preference categories depending on the relationship. An unlimited visa stems from a closer relationship with a U.S. citizen, such as a spouse or unmarried child. These citizens are “Immediate Relatives.”
If the number of qualified applicants in your family exceeds the number of available immigrant visas, there is a wait. This means that the government will issue the available visas in chronological order based on when the immigrants filed the petitions. Sometimes, there may be a waiting period of several years or longer. An experienced attorney can help you navigate and change your priority dates, depending on your situation.
The first step toward receiving a family-based visa is to file a Petition for Alien Relative, or Form I-130. An attorney can help you fill out this petition effectively to avoid the Department of Homeland Security or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rejecting your request. Sponsors for siblings or parents must be 21 years old or older, but there is no age requirement for sponsors of other family categories. However, a U.S. citizen must be at least 18 to sign the Affidavit of Support, which is a requirement for an immigrant visa.
Once the USCIS approves your petition, the organization sends it to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC assigns your petition a case number. If you have an attorney, you will not have to complete Form DS-261. Otherwise, the NVC will instruct you to file this form at this time. The NVC processes your case and gives you and your sponsor instructions to submit the required fees and immigrant visa documentation. This documentation includes application forms, the Affidavit of Support, and other civil documents.
Your spouse and minor, unmarried children may apply for immigrant visas based on your approved petition. Children must be younger than 21 to apply with you. Anyone applying for visas with you must fill out the required documentation separately from your own forms. The law now gives same-sex spouses and minor children the same rights and benefits as other couples.
Next, the NVC schedules your interview appointment. During the interview, the NVC agent will ask you specific questions about your relationship with your sponsor and other important information. If the interviewer suspects that you are trying to acquire a visa fraudulently, your application can be dismissed. You and your family members must complete medical examinations and vaccinations before attending the interview. Family-based visas can take longer than other visas to process due to numerically limited categories. The timeline varies case by case.
David A. Breston, Attorney at Law, is dedicated to helping families immigrate to the United States. The family-based visa process is complex and requires several forms. Our attorneys can fill out and submit your forms and ensure that you and your family members have the right documentation ready for approval. Contact our team today at (713) 224-4040 to set up an appointment.