Family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents in Aurora may be eligible for a permanent immigrant visa to live and work legally in the United States. However, it is important to understand the requirements and follow proper procedures to give yourself the best possible chance of success.

Because immigration laws are complex and subject to frequent changes, it is often helpful to work with an Aurora family immigration lawyer. An experienced immigration attorney could provide the advice and counsel you need right from the beginning. En Español.

Family Visas Explained

The U.S. government issues many types of visas, but they fall into two primary categories. Permanent visas enable the holder to work and reside in the U.S. indefinitely and therefore are also known as immigrant visas. Temporary visas are issued for a finite period for a specified purpose such as study, medical treatment, employment, or tourism. Sometimes those unable to obtain a permanent visa will enter the U.S. on a temporary visa while working toward permanent status.

The government classifies and ranks different categories of family-based visas according to the relationship and the status of the sponsor. Most of these categories are subject to the limitation on the number of visas granted each year, which means that some family members must wait a significant time before their application will be current for processing. The exception is visas for immediate family members, which are not subject to annual limits.

Immediate Relatives

The ideal category for seeking a visa is the immediate family member category. However, only U.S. citizens may petition for an immediate family member. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) defines immediate family members as:

  • Spouses
  • Unmarried children under age 21
  • Minor children adopted abroad
  • Minor children in the process of adoption abroad
  • Parents of U.S. citizens aged 21 or over

Because this category is a high preference that is not subject to quotas, if it is possible to demonstrate qualifications providing eligibility for this category, it is wise to do so. That means that if a relationship or the status of a sponsor changes, the applicant should notify the appropriate agencies immediately. For instance, if a lawful permanent resident petition on behalf of a spouse and then the petitioner attains citizenship, then the preference of the spouse changes to an immediate family member and the application should be updated. To learn more about what to do when a status changes, speak with an Aurora family immigration lawyer.

Preference Visas in Aurora

Those who do not qualify as immediate family members may be eligible for a family preference visa. The first preference in this category is for unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens and any minor children they have. Second preference goes to the spouses and unmarried children of lawful permanent residents. Although this includes unmarried adult children, most visas in this category are granted to the spouses and minor children.

Third preference family visas are allocated to the married children of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children. Finally, the last family preference category covers brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, plus their spouses and minor children. Grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, and uncles do not have a close enough relationship to qualify for a family preference immigrant visa.

Help from an Aurora Family Immigration Attorney

Some family situations do not fit neatly into one of the above categories but still may enable a foreign national to immigrate to the U.S. For example, the fiancés of citizens may apply for temporary visas, but those visas are handled similarly to permanent visas because, after the marriage, the visa holders will be eligible for green cards as permanent residents.

There are several stages in the immigration process and it is important to respond to requests for information promptly and accurately. Failure to provide information or submission of incorrect information could provide grounds for denying an application. You may even be barred from applying again in the future. A knowledgeable Aurora family immigration attorney could help you prevent problems that might delay or ruin your opportunity to immigrate. To learn how an attorney could help, call now.

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