Family Preference Visas in Alexandria

Applying for a visa is an exciting moment for people trying to immigrate to the United States or legalizing their stay. However, due to the demand for visas, especially family preference visas, the application process could prove to be long and difficult. A skilled attorney could provide you with assistance if you are applying for this kind of visa. Schedule an appointment today to get started on applying for family preference visas in Alexandria.

What is a Family Preference Visa?

A family-sponsored preference visa or a family preference visa covers family relationships that are not covered by the immediate relative category. It also includes any petition that was filed by a lawful permanent resident for their children or spouse. The purpose of this kind of visa is to allow U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to submit petitions for family members who, for some reason, were not able to be included in the immediate relative category.

Types of Categories for Family Preference Visas

A family member applies to be entered into a family preference category by having a petitioner submit the Form I-130. This is the first step a family member must take when trying to immigrate to the United States. There are various categories to which a family member could apply for. Depending on their situation, they may fall within the following categories:

  • Family preference category 1: Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens who are 21 years of age or older
  • Family preference category 2: Spouses and children of permanent residents and unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents who are 21 years of age or older
  • Family preference category 3: Married children of U.S. citizens
  • Family preference category 4: Siblings of adult U.S. citizens

Determining Wait Time for Applying for a Family Preference Category

The wait time determined for applying for family preference visas in Alexandria may vary. The visa bulletin, which is available on the Department of State’s website, allows the petitioners and beneficiaries to determine how long that beneficiary family member would wait for visas to become available. This helps the beneficiary and petitioner figure out when they would be able to file for immigrant visas or adjustment. Priority dates (the date the I-130 was filed) may also be used to determine the availability of visas.

What to do When the Wait Time is High

If a family member has a long wait time for one preference and is eligible for another category through another petitioner, that person should consider applying for that category as well. More than one petition may be filed for the same person. That way they can try their luck to see which petition would allow that beneficiary to immigrate to the U.S. faster.

Qualifying for a Higher Family Preference Category

If a person’s situation changes and they are now qualified for a higher family preference category, they must consider whether that category would slow down. For instance, if the beneficiary was petitioned by their lawful permanent resident parent and that parent becomes a U.S. citizen, they would have the option to transfer preferences.  However, the beneficiary has to consider whether the category is moving faster or slower than their original preference category.

Common Mistakes Made When Applying for a Visa

Some common mistakes that are made when applying for a family preference visas in Alexandria are misreading the visa bulletin, not having the appropriate petitioner file for the beneficiary who would be able to provide the fastest available method of immigrating to the U.S., and not telling USCIS that there is a change in preference from family to immediate relative that would benefit the beneficiary.

Contact a Family Preference Attorney for Assistance

When applying for family preference visas in Alexandria, it may prove to be helpful to retain the services of an immigration attorney. A lawyer with experience in this area of immigration law could review your application for accuracy, potentially ensuring that you submit your application without error. An attorney could also advise you on what to do if your wait time is longer than expected. Schedule a consultation to learn more about what an attorney could do for you.

Family Preference Visas in Alexandria

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