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Family Immigration – Frequently Asked Questions
Family is the most important unit to a person’s life. Most people make a lot of effort to ensure that they are as close as possible to their loved ones. One of the common things people do is getting a Family Visa that would allow them to enter and stay in the United States with their family members. However, the U.S. visa process is one of the toughest and most challenging.
We understand the hustle that comes with getting a family visa and endeavors to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked family immigration questions in this post.
Who among my family members can file a visa petition for me to become a legal United States resident?
For one to be granted entry and legal residence in the United States, they have to be sponsored by a close family member who is a United States citizen. They have to commit to supporting you during your stay in the United States until you gain citizenship. However, there are some restrictions. Uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and cousins cannot sponsor someone as they are not considered to be close family members. Also, a permanent legal resident may not be able to sponsor their parents or their siblings to the United States.
Why do I have to wait for long to get a family visa?
The long waits are common for all types of visas. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) usually provide a specific number of visas every year and once the cap is reached, the remaining applicants have to wait for the next fiscal year when more visas are available. To avoid missing out, it is best if you apply for your visa as soon as the window openS. The visas are served on a first-come-first-served basis. You also should be patient for the processing to complete as it may take several months.
Where can I check my priority date?
To check whether your priority date is current, you can visit the United States Department of State under the visas webpage. There you will find a bulletin that shows whether your priority date is current or not.
An important fact to note about the priority date is that sometimes it changes from current to not current within a one-month period. This is common for family preference visas when the number of applicants exceeds the number of visas available for a certain month or when the annual cap is reached.
My consular officer denied my case after the visa interview. What can I do?
If you are really qualified, then there should be no reason for a consular officer to deny you your visa application. However, if the consular officer is convinced that there is material evidence that supports your denial of the visa, then they may fail to grant you the visa. Most consular officers will provide you the reasons behind their decision. They will also inform you about whether or not you can appeal the decision.
How long does it take for a family visa to be processed?
As highlighted in earlier sections, there are a specific number of family visas that are made available every fiscal year. When some applicants fail to get visas due to the annual cap being reached, backlogs develop. As such, it can take several years before a petition for a family-based immigrant visa can be processed.
What family preference categories are available in the United States?
A family visa is obtained based on the preference category that they fall under. The first preference is comprised of unmarried children of a United States citizen who have not attained the age of 21. The spouses of a United States citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident and their unmarried children fall under the second preference category. Third preference category is for married children of a United States citizen while the fourth preference category is slated for the siblings of a United States citizen.
Can my spouse and my children get a green card if I got married while I was waiting for my visa petition to be processed?
The answer is yes. In the event that your visa petition took too long and you got married while the petition was still being processed, you and your spouse together with your children, if you have any, can apply for a green card.
How do I go about getting my fiancé to the United States?
For a couple that is yet to get married, the first step to getting your fiancé to the United States is sponsoring them to get a K-1 visa by filing a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The catch, however, is that you must be planning to get married within 90 days after your fiancé has entered the United States. You should also have met in the recent past and your petition must be accompanied by sufficient evidence to prove the legitimacy of your relationship.
These are just but a few of the questions that most people frequently asked. The help of an immigration attorney is important in getting these and more questions on family immigration answered.
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- Immigration Law