If you wish to immigrate to the United States to permanently live and work here, one of the most common ways to do so is through sponsorship by a relative who is already a citizen or green card holder. There are a few different Bolingbrook family visa categories, and the eligibility criteria and process vary for each type of family-based immigration.
If you want to learn about the process of sponsoring a relative for a visa or are exploring the possibilities of family-based immigration, a dedicated attorney could analyze your case and inform you of your available options.
The first type of family visa category someone wishing to take up permanent residency in Bolingbrook may be eligible for is as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen. This would refer to a citizen’s husband or wife. Secondly, a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 may sponsor their parents for a green card as an immediate relative. The children of U.S. citizens are the third category of individuals who qualify as immediate family members for the purposes of green card eligibility. However, the child sponsoring their visa must be no older than 20 years old and not married.
If the individual seeking lawful permanent residency (LPR) in the U.S. qualifies through one of these immediate family member categories, their sponsor can file a Petition for Alien Relative, known as Form I-30, to start the application process. If the petition is granted, the applicant’s case will go through a series of phases, followed by an in-person interview at the nearest embassy or consulate in their home country.
If the consular officer grants their green card application, the individual will be issued an immigrant visa that allows them to travel to the U.S. and will receive their green card at their Illinois address later on. If the individual already legally lives in the U.S., they will instead go through a process known as adjustment of status and the case will be processed entirely stateside.
Securing a visa and permanent residency as the immediate family member of a U.S. citizen typically takes anywhere from six to 12 months. These cases are given priority over family preference access and there is no maximum number of visas issued each year to immediate family members of U.S. citizens seeking green card status.
Family preference visas may be issued to qualifying relatives who are not eligible to pursue LPR residency as an immediate relative of their U.S. sponsor. There are five classes of family preference visa categories in Bolingbrook, numbered in order of precedence.
First preference, or F1 visas, are for a U.S. citizen’s children aged 21 and up. If a lawful permanent resident wishes to bring their spouse or single child who is 20 or younger into the U.S., they may sponsor them for a second preference or F2A visa. A green card holder looking to bring their unmarried child 21 or older into the U.S. may sponsor them for another type of second preference visa, called an F2B.
The third preference (F3) category is reserved for married children of U.S. citizens. Siblings of a citizen who wish to take up lawful permanent residency in the U.S. are categorized as fourth preference (F4) applicants. Upon approval of the U.S. sponsor’s petition for a family preference visa on behalf of their relative, the case will proceed to consular processing if the foreign national lives in their home country, or adjustment of status if they reside stateside.
However, before a case can proceed to either the consular processing or adjustment of status stage, a visa number needs to be available for the applicant. Unlike visas for immediate relatives of citizens, family preference applicants must wait until a number becomes available in their group. Because of this, it is not uncommon for family preference applicants to wait several years or more before a visa number is issued to them.
There are a few common reasons why USCIS or a consular officer may deny someone a family visa application. One reason would be if there was something in the applicant’s background or health history that renders them inadmissible to the U.S. For example, failure to get the required U.S. vaccinations or having previous convictions for specific criminal offenses can result in a denial of a visa application due to inadmissibility.
Depending on the grounds of the denial, it may be possible to get certain inadmissibility factors waived. Another common reason someone’s family visa application may be rejected is if they have remained in the U.S. at least 180 days more than the period allowed by their current visa. An applicant may also be held as inadmissible if they came to the U.S. illegally in the past. A local immigration representative can advise when it could be possible to seek a waiver of certain grounds of admissibility or appeal a denial.
If you want to know whether you qualify for one of the Bolingbrook family visa categories, you could seek a knowledgeable legal counsel on the matter. A lawyer could advise you if you are eligible for a family visa and help you determine the most suitable pathway to pursue green card status. To discuss family visas in greater detail, call our office today.