Applying for a Family Preference Visa in Fairfax

Applying for a family preference visa in Fairfax can be a complicated process. The process of securing a family preference visa involves filling out paperwork and adhering to certain deadlines, which is why it is important to work with an experienced attorney. A capable immigration lawyer could devote the time and resources necessary to achieve a positive outcome for you and your family.

Wait Time When Applying for a Visa

After applying for a family preference visa in Fairfax, an individual can look at the Visa Bulletin to figure out. The Visa Bulletin allows the family members to determine approximately how long they have to wait before a visa is available. Once it is determined that a family member’s petition was filed, the Beneficiary and Petitioner can reference the I-130 receipt for the “priority date.” The priority date is the date USCIS received the I-130. Next, the Beneficiary and Petitioner must visit the Department of State Visa Bulletin website and reference the chart showing the priority dates to determine if a visa is available for their preference category. If the family member who was petitioned is abroad, the National Visa Center contacts the Beneficiary and the Petitioner to start the Immigrant Visa process.

If the family member is eligible to become a lawful permanent resident in the United States, then the family member must determine if they should use the Final Action Date chart or the Dates for Filing chart as the date for filing the I-485 Application. Each chart has different priority dates as to when the visa will become available based on the country and the category. Visiting the website is helpful to determine which chart someone should follow. To determine which chart to use any given month, the Beneficiary and Petitioner can access that information at

Applying for More Than One Preference Category

The family member who is the beneficiary of one I-130 petition is allowed to be petitioned by other family members that may make that person eligible for another family preference category. There is no set number for how many Form I-130s the Beneficiary can have filed on their behalf. The one thing that might be of concern is that each petition costs money, however, there is no disadvantage to people applying for or having multiple petitions pending on their behalf. The Beneficiary can improve their chances of obtaining a lawful permanent residence or having a petition approved sooner by having multiple petitions. However, the Beneficiary may only adjust or consular process based upon the approval of one petition.

Besides financial reasons, because it can get expensive, someone can file under several categories if they are eligible, and they can proceed with the approved petition with the priority date that becomes current first.

Important Considerations When a Person’s Preference Category Changes

When applying for a family preference visa in Fairfax, consideration should be given as to whether the priority date for a different preference category will slow down. The “higher” preference category may have a longer wait time than the preference category originally held by the Beneficiary. The goal is to select the category that is going to allow the Beneficiary to immigrate to the U.S. or to adjust as soon as possible.

For example, if an unmarried adult (21 years or older) daughter Beneficiary was petitioned by an LPR (“Lawful Permanent Resident”) parent but then the Petitioner parent becomes a U.S. citizen, the daughter can choose to transfer her preference category from F2B, unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents, to F1, unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. But, before they do that, the Beneficiary should check the current priority dates on the Visa Bulletin because it is possible that one preference might be processed before the other.

Common Mistakes that are Made When Applying for a Family Preference Visa in Fairfax

Some common mistakes that are made when applying for a family preference visa are:

  • Misreading the Visa Bulletin
  • Not informing USCIS (“United States Citizenship and Immigration Services”) of any change from a family preference category to immediate relative
  • Not choosing a Petitioner that can provide the quickest route for the Beneficiary to file for adjustment or an Immigrant Visa
  • Not informing USCIS of wanting to opt out of a change in a preference category

An experienced immigration attorney could be extremely helpful in applying for a family preference visa in Fairfax. If you are trying to secure a family preference visa for a loved one, speak with a skilled lawyer that could work towards a positive outcome for you.

Family Preference Visas in Fairfax

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