The U.S. offers many categories of visas, but only some are meant for the family members of immigrants to the country. Additionally, there are a limited number of each visa available each year. Applicants in limited categories sometimes must wait years for a visa to become available. However, if a family member is eligible to apply for a category with unlimited visas, they could receive their visa within a relatively short timeframe.
Immediate Family Visas.
Citizens may sponsor their spouse, parents, and unmarried children under 21 to immigrate through the Immediate Family category. The U.S. does not limit the number of visas in this category.
An immediate family visa applicant must complete Form DS-260, submit all the relevant supporting documents, complete a medical evaluation, and provide proof of vaccinations. They then must have an interview with a Consular official in their country of residence. If they are approved for a visa, they may travel to the U.S., but their entry is not guaranteed. An official at the border must approve their entry.
Family Preference Visas.
A set number of Family Preference visas are available each year, and there are limits on the number of visas available to people from certain countries. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processes Family Preference visa applications in order based on their priority date. When applying for a family preference visa, a foreign national must file Form DS-260 and any supporting documents, pass the medical exam, and complete the in-person interview before USCIS assigns a priority date.
Citizens can sponsor their siblings, married children, and adult children through the Family Preference visa category. Additionally, the spouses of Green Card holders and unmarried children under 21 also gain entry through the Family Preference program.
If you believe that a family preference visa or an immediate family visa might be right immigration option for you or a loved one, you should discuss these options in detail with a skilled Charlotte lawyer.