February 09, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- An overview of family-based immigration to the United States
Article provided by Genzale & Haven, LLP
Visit us at http://www.genzalehaven.com
For many people, coming to live in the United States represents a life-long dream. However, it can be very difficult to get legal authorization to live or work in the U.S. The American immigration system is notoriously complex, and the government sets strict limits on the number of people who will be granted immigrant visas each year.
The immigration process can be somewhat simpler for prospective immigrants who already have family members living in the United States as citizens or legal permanent residents. There are two family immigration frameworks in the United States: one for immediate relatives and the other based on a family preference system.
Immediate relative immigration is available to the spouses, parents and unmarried minor children of U.S. citizens. There is no preset numerical limit on the number of immediate family visas that will be made available each year. However, both the sponsor and the prospective immigrant will have to meet certain eligibility requirements.
The family preference system is set up for family members other than immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and is divided into five categories. The number of family preference visas available depends on how many immigrants are granted immediate relative visas in a given year, but at least 226,000 people will be allowed to immigrate on family preference visas each year. These visas are available in the following order of preference:
-Unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens
-Spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents
-Unmarried adult children of legal permanent residents
-Married adult children of U.S. citizens
-Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens
When the annual cap is exceeded, immigration authorities will put prospective immigrants' petitions in a waiting list. The petitions will be granted in chronological order based on their priority date. U.S. law does not grant aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents or in-laws the authority to sponsor relatives for immigration.
Family-based immigration process
Family-based immigration is a very complicated and detailed process. Even a small mistake can delay a family member's arrival by months or even years. For that reason, it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced immigration attorney if you are thinking about bringing a family member to the United States.
With that said, it can be helpful to have an understanding of the process so that you know what you are getting into.
The first step in family-based immigration is for the U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident relative to file a petition on behalf of the prospective immigrant. In most cases, the sponsor is residing in the United States. The petition will be reviewed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; if it is approved, it will be forward to the National Visa Center and placed in priority order. At this point, the applicant will be asked to pay the appropriate fees and provide the required documentation.
After the applicant's file is complete, the National Visa Center will forward the case to the appropriate U.S. Embassy to schedule an interview with the prospective immigrant. In anticipation of this interview, the applicant will have to pass a medical examination.
After everything is complete, it is just a matter of waiting for the visa to be issued. Once it does, the applicant will be well on his or her way to a new life in the United States!---
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