Family Preference Visas in Anne Arundel

Helping a family member obtain lawful status in the United States is a difficult yet highly rewarding process. In order to obtain this type of visas, applicants may have to complete a series of documents and provide documentation proving familial relationships. To find out more about how to obtain family preference visas in Anne Arundel, it may be wise to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

What is a Family-Sponsored Preference Visa or a Family Preference Visa?

A family-sponsored preference visa or a family preference visa, is a visa that includes other familial relationships not covered by the immediate relative visa. An example is if the petitioner and the beneficiary are siblings. Siblings are not immediate family members according to U.S. immigration law, but a U.S. citizen may petition for a sibling. However, that sibling would fall into the family preference category and must wait for a visa to become available for them. Family preference visas also cover the petitions filed by lawful permanent residents for their spouses and their children.

How to be Entered into a Family Preference Category

When trying to obtain a family preference visa, applicants must fall into one of the family preference categories. However, a family member of a U.S. citizen does not directly apply for a family preference visa. The U.S. citizen relative would have to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to start the process on their behalf of their family member.

Once the application has been submitted, the beneficiary would be given a priority date and would then be able to track on the State Department website approximately how they would be waiting to obtain an immigrant visa or be able to adjust their status. Once the application process has been completed, an applicant may be entered in the following family preference categories:

  • Category one: unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens who are 21 years of age or older
  • Category two: spouses and children of lawful permanent residents and the unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents who are 21 years of age or older
  • Category three: married sons and a daughter of U.S. citizens
  • Category four: siblings of an adult (21 years or older) U.S. citizen

Legalizing the Stay of a Non-Immediate Family Member in Anne Arundel

When a non-immediate family member is visiting the United States and decides that they would like to stay, they would have to qualify for a family preference visa and wait for the visa to become available. To begin the process of adjusting the status of a non-immediate family member, the petitioner must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. However, the beneficiary cannot immediately file Form I-485 for a Green Card because they must wait for a visa. Form I-130 does not provide the beneficiary with any status, meaning that they are not permitted to stay in the U.S. and wait for a visa to become available.

Non-immediate family members who wish to obtain a family preference visa are allowed to lawfully remain in the United States, so long as they change their status to one that would allow them to stay in the country. For example, if a non-immediate family member entered the country as a tourist and wishes to obtain a family preference visa, they could apply for a student visa as long as they qualify for that type of visa. They could then submit their application to adjust once the visa becomes available.

What is the Wait Time for Applicants?

The visa bulletin released by the Department of State allows family members who have applied to legalize their stay using the family preference category to estimate approximately how long they will have to wait for a visa to become available for them. The visa bulletin shows what petition was filed and the visa bulletin uses the priority dates to determine if a visa is available for that preference. If that family member is abroad, the National Visa Center will contact the petitioner and the beneficiary to begin the immigrant visa process. If the family member is eligible to become a lawful permanent resident while they are in the United States, they should check to see if their priority date has become current in order to submit Form I-485.

Importance of Contacting an Attorney Today

One of the most vital benefits of hiring an attorney is that they are able to help you navigate through the process of obtaining a family preference visas in an efficient manner. A lawyer could explain the documents you would need to have prepared and the amount of time it may take to process an application. If you or a family member are interested in obtaining family preference visas in Anne Arundel, working with an attorney may be the most favorable way to go about doing so. To get started, be sure to schedule a consultation today.

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