Applying for a Family Preference Visa in Leesburg

When you wish your family to immigrate with you, you often need to file numerous complicated forms that adhere to strict immigration guidelines. Applying for a family preference visa in Leesburg could be made easier with the help of an experienced family immigration attorney.

Filing a Family Preference Visa Application

The process for applying for a family preference visa starts off the same as an immediate relative. It starts with the petitioner, who is either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, filing the Form I-130 on behalf of the beneficiary. When the beneficiaries’ priority dates (I-130 filing date) become current (a visa is available) then they are able to either apply for an immigrant visa or apply for adjustment of status. Whether the beneficiaries apply for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status depends on whether the beneficiary is in the U.S. or abroad.

What Documents Need to be Submitted

The form that a petitioner needs to submit is the Form I-130. With the Form I-130, the petitioner must include evidence of his or her status either as a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. If they are a U.S. citizen, their citizenship status could be proven by a birth certificate. If they were born in the U.S. or if they were not born in the U.S., they could provide a U.S. passport, naturalization certificate, or proof of their lawful permanent resident status. In addition, they must provide proof of the familial relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary.

Required Facts That Need Demonstrating

A petitioner will need to demonstrate various facts. If one is trying to petition for a spouse, applicants must show that their marriage is legally valid–meaning both parties are of age and previous marriages terminated–and that it is a bona fide marriage that was entered in good faith. They could show proof of a bona fide marriage through birth certificates of children born to that marriage, joint ownership of property, joint leases, joint bank accounts, and many other legal forms an attorney could help potential applicants review.

If potential applicants are petitioning for a child, the successful processing of a visa would depend on certain facts. For example, if it is a mother-child relationship, then a birth certificate by itself is enough to show a familial relationship. However, if it is a father-child relationship, extra steps must be taken. Not only is a birth certificate required but, if the father was married to the mother at the time that the child was born, a copy of the marriage certificate. If the child was born out of wedlock, there needs to be proof that the child was legitimized by the father or of a bona fide parent-child relationship between the child and the father before the child reached the age of 21.

If it is a stepparent petitioning for their stepchild, there needs to be proof that the marriage between the petitioner and the child’s biological/legal parent took place before the child turned 18 years old. When petitioning for a sibling, the petitioner would have to include birth certificates of the petitioner and the beneficiary to show that there is at least one shared parent between the petitioner and the beneficiary.

Additionally, the application is detailed. It is filled with information that the government requires in order to determine if the beneficiary is eligible for an immigrant visa. The recent I-130 requires much more information than what was previously required, and applicants may find the application difficult or confusing. It is imperative that the petitioner provides as accurate information as possible to avoid unnecessary delays or denial.

Also, petitioners should be aware that USCIS often asks for additional evidence. The petitioner should include the evidence that is requested by USCIS within the time permitted in order to ensure that the petition is granted. If the evidence of the family relationship is not available, then the petitioner must submit other forms of evidence to substitute or to make up for the lack of primary evidence. It is important that anyone submitting these applications submit the correct information and submit the correct evidence in order to avoid delays and denial.

Interviews and the Beneficiary

The beneficiary may or may not have to interview with someone. It depends on the relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary, and if the petitioner and beneficiary are both in the United States. Typically, USCIS interviews couples who have recently been married, but it is possible that they may choose to interview people with other certain relationships–for example, parent-child.

The Benefits of Hiring a Family Immigration Attorney

The benefits of hiring an immigration attorney are that an attorney could make recommendations of who should be the petitioner. They could give advice to the petitioner and applicant in order to determine whether the beneficiary should have multiple petitions filed on their behalf or transfer their petition from one category to another. For example, if the petitioner is a lawful permanent resident but then becomes a U.S. citizen, an attorney could keep track of priority dates and let their client know when their priority date becomes current. They could also advise whether the client should either file the Form I-485 if they are in the United States or start consular processing abroad. Possibly most importantly, attorneys could make sure that any evidence that is requested by USCIS or the National Visa Center is filed and possibly avoid delays in doing so.

Common Reasons Behind a Family Preference Visa’s Denial

The most common reason that a family preference visa would not be issued is often that the petitioner failed to show the relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary. Other reasons are that, even though the Form I-130 was approved, there is an inadmissibility issue that the beneficiary has when it is time to submit the Form I-485 or the immigrant visa application. If they did not submit a waiver of those inadmissibility grounds, then their application will likely be denied.

Avoid the Pitfalls of Applications and Contact an Attorney

Applying for a family preference visa in Leesburg could be a tricky and time-consuming process. There are numerous nuances that need to be addressed and missing one could impede your application and, at worst, possibly result in a denial. Hiring an experienced immigration attorney could prevent these worst-case-scenarios. Reach out today for assistance.

Family Preference Visas in Leesburg

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