Family connections could make all the difference when it comes to immigration. A family relationship could provide sponsorship and eligibility for a permanent visa. Familial affiliation could also enable a person to immigrate along with other family members.

U.S. immigration laws have complex rules about family immigration, however. Many people find it helpful to consult a Wheaton family immigration lawyer at the start of a proceeding or if a problem arises. An experienced immigration attorney knows what to expect from the process and how to effectively document eligibility criteria.

Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas

Those who have a close family relationship with a U.S. citizen could apply for an immediate relative visa. This type of visa enables the holder to become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and allows him or her to live and work in the country indefinitely.

Immediate relative immigrant visas are not subject to the annual quotas that apply to other types of immigrant visas, so an immigration lawyer in Wheaton could determine whether if there is any way to demonstrate eligibility for this visa. Those eligible to seek an immediate relative immigrant visa include:

  • Parents of U.S. citizens (the citizen must be at least 21 years old)
  • Unmarried children (under age 21) of U.S. citizens
  • Orphans adopted or about to be adopted abroad by U.S. citizens
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens

Importantly, same-sex spouses are included in these family immigration categories.

Family Preference Immigrant Visas

As with immediate relative immigrant visas, a family preference immigrant visa is a permanent visa that establishes eligibility for a green card which allows people to live and work in the U.S. However, these visas are only granted in limited numbers each year, so competition is often rigorous and the waiting times may be long. There are four family preference categories ranked according to priority. Therefore, a family immigration lawyer in Wheaton could help an applicant seek a visa in the highest available category.

Unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens rank highest in the family preference category. If they have any minor offspring, those children may be included in the Family First Preference category.

The Family Second Preference category is for spouses and unmarried offspring of U.S. lawful permanent residents. Most of the visas in this category are reserved for spouses and minor children. Married children and brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens make up the third and fourth categories respectively. They may also bring their spouses and minor children.

The Family Immigration Process

Those seeking an immigration visa on the basis of a family connection must first have the relative in the U.S. file a Petition for Alien Relative with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The family member usually also serves as a sponsor. A family immigration lawyer in Wheaton could help file the petition, monitor the application’s status, and prepare subsequent documentation.

After USCIS approves the petition, the case moves to the National Visa Center. Depending on the preference status of the applicant, there could be a lengthy wait for the center to be ready to accept documentation and process an application. At some point, an applicant needs to submit biometric information such as fingerprints and undergo an interview.

Help from a Wheaton Family Immigration Attorney

Whether you are just exploring the family immigration process or you are trying to work through a delay or problems with an application, a knowledgeable Wheaton family immigration lawyer may be able to assist you. Advice from an experienced immigration advocate could help an applicant prepare and demonstrate qualifications as effectively as possible.

Immigration lawyers work to keep on top of changes and legal precedents to help you take advantage of every available opportunity to reach your goal. Call today to learn more about the benefits of working with a family immigration lawyer.

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