Hire A Family Based Immigration Lawyer in Philadelphia
The United States’ Family-Based Immigrant Visa Petitions offer U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) a way to sponsor certain family members for immigration to the U.S. They provide eligible individuals with immigrant visas, leading them to eventually become lawful permanent residents or “green card” holders. Reuniting families and welcoming close relatives to migrate is the primary objective of these petitions.
A family immigration lawyer at MC Law Group will have years of experience with the family immigration process and family-based petitions.
Who Is Eligible For A Family-Based Immigration Visa?
There are two main categories of Family-Based Visa Petitions:
Immediate Relative Petitions: This category is reserved for the closest family relationships and has no numerical limits or quotas. Immediate relatives include the following:
a. Spouses of U.S. citizens.
b. Unmarried sons and daughters (under 21) of U.S. citizens.
c. Parents of U.S. citizens (if the petitioner is at least 21 years old).
d. Widows/widowers of U.S. citizens (if the marriage was ongoing at the time of the citizen’s death).
Family Preference Visas: This category applies to more distant family relationships and has numerical limits set by the U.S. government. These include the following preference categories:
a. First Preference (F1): Unmarried adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
b. Second Preference (F2): Spouses, minor children, and unmarried adult sons and daughters (over 21) of permanent residents.
c. Third Preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
d. Fourth Preference (F4): Siblings of U.S. citizens, if the citizen petitioner is at least 21 years old.
The Family-Based Visa Petition process typically involves the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident petitioner filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petitioner must provide evidence of the qualifying relationship and supporting documentation to establish their status and the beneficiary’s eligibility.
The Steps For Obtaining A Family-Based Immigration Visa
Obtaining a family-based immigration visa in the United States involves several steps. While the specific process may vary based on individual circumstances and the type of family relationship, the following steps provide a general overview:
Determine Eligibility: Determine if you are eligible to file a family-based immigration visa petition. This depends on your status as a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, as well as the qualifying relationship with the intended beneficiary (family member).
File Form I-130: Complete and file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form establishes the familial relationship and serves as the initial petition.
Provide Supporting Documentation: Submit the required supporting documentation along with Form I-130. This may include proof of the petitioner’s U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, proof of the qualifying relationship with the beneficiary, and other supporting evidence.
Wait for USCIS Processing: The USCIS will review the petition and supporting documents. Processing times can vary, and it may take several months to receive a decision. The USCIS may request additional evidence or schedule an interview if necessary.
Case Transfer and National Visa Center (NVC) Processing: If the petition is approved, the case is transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will request additional documentation, including biographic information, financial forms, and supporting evidence. Affidavit of Support, and pay the required fees.
Complete the Immigrant Visa Application: After providing the required documentation and fees to the NVC, the beneficiary will be notified to complete the visa application, typically Form DS-260. This form collects personal and background information.
Attend the Immigrant Visa Interview: The beneficiary will be scheduled for an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. The interview is conducted by a consular officer who will assess the eligibility and admissibility of the beneficiary.
Medical Examination and Security Checks: Prior to the interview, the beneficiary will need to undergo a medical examination conducted by an authorized physician. Additionally, security checks will be conducted to ensure the individual does not pose a security risk to the United States.
Receive the Visa: If the visa is approved, the beneficiary will receive the visa in their passport. They can then make arrangements to travel to the United States.
Entry to the United States: Upon arrival in the United States, the beneficiary will undergo inspection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the port of entry. The CBP officer will make the final determination regarding admission and the duration of stay.
Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing: Depending on the circumstances, the beneficiary may need to apply for adjustment of status (if already in the U.S.) or go through consular processing (if outside the U.S.) to obtain lawful permanent resident status, commonly known as a green card.
This is a general outline of the family-based immigration visa process, and specific requirements and procedures may vary based on individual circumstances. An experienced family immigration attorney can provide personalized guidance and assistance throughout the application process.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC Help Immigrants in All Areas of Immigration Law
Current immigration laws and opinions are in a constant state of change, leaving many immigrants confused and overwhelmed when it comes to family immigration. Consulting with an experienced immigration lawyer can ensure that individuals and their family members receive help with the immigration process, understand the documents and limitations imposed by visas and permits, and meet all deadlines and criteria.
If you or someone you know needs help in any area of immigration law, including visa applications, call a Pennsylvania family immigration lawyer at the MC Law Group, LLC at to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia to serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and nationwide.
Frequently Asked Questions
Processing times can vary, but it generally takes several months to over a year for the USCIS to process and approve a family-based visa petition. Factors such as the specific family relationship, the USCIS workload, and any additional administrative processing can affect the processing time.
Yes, there are numerical limits on certain family-based visa categories. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, such as spouses, parents, and unmarried children under 21, are not subject to numerical limits. However, other family preference categories may have annual quotas, and there may be waiting periods for visa availability.
Can I sponsor other family members who are not included in the immediate relative or preference categories?
It depends on the specific relationship and immigration category. U.S. citizens and green card holders have different eligibility and sponsorship options for various family members. Consulting with an immigration lawyer can provide a better understanding of the available options.
In some cases, expedited processing may be available for urgent situations. This can be requested based on specific criteria, such as severe medical conditions, humanitarian reasons, or military deployments. Each request is assessed on a case-by-case basis.