Family Preference Visas in DC

The family preference visas include other family relationships that may exist between a petitioner and a beneficiary that is not covered by the immediate relative petition, such as a sibling relationship. Family preference visas in DC also include petitions filed by permanent residents for their spouses and children. The purpose is to permit United States citizens and lawful permanent residents to petition for family members who are not included in the immediate relative category. The application process for these types of visas can be complicated and there is a set quota that is given out each year. It is essential that if someone’s non-immediate family members are filing for an available visa, they hire an experienced family immigration lawyer.

If you have non-immediate family members, they cannot have an I-130 filed on their behalf concurrently with the I-485

Legalizing Non-Immediate Family Members Stay

When an intending immigrant files an I-485, they can remain in the United States pending the adjudication of the I-485. That is not the case for filing a stand-alone I-130; the I-130 provides no status for those that do not have an immediately available visa. Non-immediate family members fall into the category of family-sponsored preference and must wait for their priority date to become current in order to either file for adjustment or proceed with consular processing.

However, a possible way for non-immediate family members to remain is for that family member who entered as a visitor to file for a change of status to one that will permit them to stay lawfully while they wait for the priority date to become current. For instance, if a petitioner’s family member is present in the United States under a non-immigrant status, such as an F1 student visa or another non-immigrant visa category, then the family member could adjust once a visa becomes available.

Family Preference Categories

Family preference category 1, or is are unmarried sons and daughters (21 years or older) of United States citizens. Family preference category 2, or F2A and F2B, are spouses and children (F2A) of permanent residents, and unmarried sons and daughters (21 years or older) of permanent residents (F2B). Family preference category 3, or F3, are married sons and daughters of United States citizens. Family preference category 4, or F4, are brothers and sisters of adult United States citizens.

Quota for Visas

There is a visa bulletin issued by the Department of State that states the number of visas available for each family preference category. For instance, for F1, first preference, there are 23,400 visas available, with additional visas that remain from the fourth preference category.

The number of visas available for each preference category includes a fixed number and includes visas not used by other preference categories. This means that there is the possibility of obtaining additional visas that were not used. Additionally, the priority dates for each visa category advance and retrogress based upon the visas that were issued in the previous months; meaning that the bulletin is always subject to change. The Department of State publishes the visa bulletin online each month, so the visa bulletin should always be referenced.

Length of Application Process

The visa bulletin allows an individual to determine approximately how long a family member must wait before a visa is available. The visa bulletin should be read as follows, first visit the Department of State visa bulletin website.

Next, determine which preference category the family member’s petition was filed. The visa bulletin chart uses the priority date (the date when the approved I-130 was received) to determine if a visa is available for that preference. If the family member is abroad, the NVC anticipates that the visa will be available for the family member and will contact the petitioner and the beneficiary to begin the immigrant visa process and contact the United States Embassy or Consulate overseas.

If the family member is eligible to become a permanent resident in the United States then the family member should visit uscis.gov/visabulletininfo to determine if he or she should use the “Final Action Date” or the “Dates for Filing” as the date for filing the I-485 Application. Each chart will have a different priority date as to when the visa will be available based on the category and country, so visiting uscis.gov/visabulletininfo is essential in determining which chart someone present in the United States should use to file an I-485 Application.

Hiring a Lawyer

The filing of an I-130 petition initiates the process to request that a family member is allowed to immigrate to the United States in the future. The form allows the petitioner to designate the relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary.

Family Preference Visas in DC

Locations