Learn How Our Law Firm Can Help You Get a Family-Based Immigrant Visa
The United States receives millions of immigration and non-immigration applications a year from those who want to live in the country. It can be difficult to stand out in the crowd, which is why it’s recommended that you seek out legal immigration help in Los Angeles before submitting any applications. One of the most common methods of immigration is family-based immigration.
The U.S. immigration government understands that those who immigrate to this country will also want their loved ones to come along.
A foreign national seeking permanent residency in the United States will need a green card, and they can get one by being sponsored by an immediate relative who is already a U.S. citizen or green card holder. The sponsor must be legally in the U.S. as a citizen or permanent resident, and they must also be at least 21 years old.
An immigration attorney in Los Angeles will tell you about two types of family-based immigrant visas, which include:
Immediate Relative: An immediate relative visa is sponsored by a close family member, such as a spouse, child, or parent. The number of immigrants in these categories is not limited each fiscal year.
Family Preference: A family preference visa is for those who don’t have an immediate family member in the U.S. Specific, more distant, family members will serve as the sponsor. These green cards are lower priority than those with immediate relative sponsors, and the number distributed is limited each year.
Keep in mind that U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents can file an immigrant visa petition for their:
Son or daughter
Brother or sister
If you do not have any close family members in the country, then you can have a distant family member petition you for a family preference immigrant visa. The categories for this kind of visa are tiered, and they include:
First preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters of at least 21 years of age
Second preference (F2A): Spouses and children who are unmarried and under 21 years of age
Second preference (F2B): Unmarried sons and daughters over age 21
Third preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
Fourth preference (F4: Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens of that citizen is 21 years of age and older
These kinds of visas can take an extended period of time to process and be distributed. Even if you apply with the help of a Los Angeles family preference immigrant visa lawyer, the average wait time is six years, and it can be even longer if your category is a lower preference. For example, the siblings of a U.S. citizen may have to wait a decade or more for their visa to be processed.
How to File for a Family Immigrant Visa
Your family immigrant visa can be filed through the USCIS website online here. Each visa application has a specific form; in this case, you will fill out Form I-130, the petition for alien relatives. Each year, around 250,000 I-130 forms are filed, and many of these are rejected due to discrepancies in information or incorrect filing.
Unfortunately, the U.S. immigration authorities are not always skilled communicators, and you can get notified that your application was denied or rejected without fully understanding why. Because of the strict filing requirements of the I-130, many foreign nationals choose to seek out the expertise of an immigration lawyer in LA. A legal professional can review your application and flag any issues that may occur further down the line.
At times, the USCIS will contact you about issues in your application, but you cannot rely on them to inform you and wait for you to correct wrong information or provide additional information.
When you choose which family member is going to petition you for a green card, your family immigration lawyer in Los Angeles will recommend that whichever family member can get your application processed fastest should apply. However, some families may want more than one lawful permanent resident or citizen to file a petition for one person. While this is a bit unorthodox, our Los Angeles green card lawyers argue that this method provides a plan B should something happen with the first visa application.
If all of your information is correct and you are eligible for a green card, USCIS will approve your I-130 and notify you by sending an official I-130 approval notice. Keep in mind that an approved I-130 does not grant you permission to live in the United States; you must wait until you receive the actual green card.
Several weeks or months after you receive an I-130 approval notice, immigration authorities will call you in for an interview, which will take place at the U.S. consulate in your home country or in the U.S. This interview is the final step in your journey to get a green card, and the government holds these interviews in order to ensure that your identity and reason for a green card are legitimate.
During your interview, your interviewer will review all application materials, check the original documents that you present, and ask any relevant questions to ensure the validity of your application. The intensity of the interview process depends on your sponsor and application, as a marriage-based green card is more often subject to fraud than one filed by your parents.
How Much Does a Family Based Immigrant Visa Cost?
One reason why Los Angeles green card attorneys may recommend having more than one family member petition for a green card is that the application can be costly, and you do not get a refund in the event your application is rejected.
The fee for the I-130 is $535, and this can be paid through money order, personal check, or cashier’s check. In some cases you can pay through a credit card, but you should check beforehand. Immigration authorities will contact you in the event they lose your check so that you can send another one. However, you should take the time to cancel the old check because processing an immigrant’s fee twice has been known to happen.
Contacting an Attorney
Becoming a U.S. citizen or permanent resident can be daunting, and the process is full of obstacles. One small mistake can greatly set back your American dream.
Hiring an immigration attorney can give you peace of mind during the green card application and interview process. Our law firm can provide support and knowledge to those who want to live in the country. We provide a wide range of services for all immigration matters, such as: