Family Immigration Lawyer Houston
Family reunification or family-based immigration is one of the ways to get an immigration visa to the United States of America and subsequently, a green card
Foreign nationals (non-US residents) who want to live legally and permanently in the United States must first obtain an immigration visa. This is the first step in order to become a lawful permanent resident of America. An immigration visa gives you the right to apply for permission to enter the United States as a permanent resident and is a step towards acquiring US citizenship in the future.
To obtain an immigrant visa, a foreign citizen must have a sponsor in the form of a relative – a US citizen or permanent resident (a green-card holder).
A US citizen may file an immigration petition for:
- brothers and sisters
A permanent resident of the United States (a green-card holder) may file an immigration petition for:
- unmarried children
Two groups of family based immigrant visa categories, including immediate relatives and family preference categories, are provided under the provisions of United States immigration law, specifically the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas (Unlimited):
These visa types are based on a close family relationship with a United States (U.S.) citizen described as an Immediate Relative (IR). The number of immigrants in these categories is not limited each fiscal year. Immediate relative visa types include:
- IR-1: Spouse of a U.S. Citizen
- IR-2: Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen
- IR-3: Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen
- IR-4: Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen
- IR-5: Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old
Family Preference Immigrant Visas (Limited):
These visa types are for specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some specified relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). There are fiscal year numerical limitations on family preference immigrants, shown at the end of each category. The family preference categories are:
- Family First Preference (F1):
Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children, if any. (23,400)
- Family Second Preference (F2):
Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of LPRs. At least seventy-seven percent of all visas available for this category will go to the spouses and children; the remainder is allocated to unmarried sons and daughters. (114,200)
- Family Third Preference (F3):
Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children. (23,400)
- Family Fourth Preference (F4):
Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age. (65,000)
Houston Green Card Attorney Gasana
Steps for Family Immigration in the USA
Step 1. Your relative – A US citizen or legal US resident (green card holder) – must file a petition for reunification with the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (USCIS).
Step 2. After the petition is approved by USCIS, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for review.
Step 3. After acquiring the status of “current” or when your case is likely to become current within the next year, the National Visa Center initiates the procedure for pre-processing the immigration visa, which includes:
- payment of all visa fees
- filling out immigration forms for visas
- sending a package of the necessary documents from the sponsor and each applicant intending to immigrate to the NVC
Step 4. After receiving all visa fees and documents for your case, the National Visa Center checks your case for all necessary documents and fees (from the sponsor and applicants), and the correct completion of all forms.
If everything is filled out correctly, your case gets the status “ready for an interview.” After the priority date for your case becomes active, the National Visa Center (NVC) will schedule an interview at the US Embassy at the place of residence of the applicant.
Petitions for immigration visas are processed strictly in the order of the queue based on the date of the petition (priority date). The visa is not issued until the priority date determined for the applicant is suitable (then the case becomes relevant).
For family immigration, the priority date is the date when a petition for family reunification was filed with the DHS office or the US embassy / consulate abroad.
This may take several years. The exact waiting period cannot be named, but the priority dates for which visas are being issued at a given time are published monthly in the Visa Bulletin document.
Steps 5. After announcing the date of the interview and immediately before the interview, applicants should do the following:
- Undergo a medical examination in a specialized medical institution in the country of residence of the applicant
- Register a passport for delivery with courier service from the embassy
- Collect and prepare the originals of the necessary documents for an interview
Step 6. On the appointed day, the applicant(s) must appear for an interview at the US Embassy at the place of residence. At the interview, the consul will announce his decision about the possibility of issuing immigration visas for your case.
If your visas are approved, you have 6 months to travel to the USA. The validity of the visa is specified in the immigration visa. As a rule, it takes half a year from the moment of passage of the medical examination. In some cases, this period may be less if you have been assigned additional medical procedures.
Houston Fiance Visa Lawyer (K-1)
The non-immigrant visa for the bride/groom K-1 is intended for foreign citizens planning to marry a US citizen. The K1 visa entitles the fiance to enter the United States and marry his/her petitioner, a US citizen, within 90 days of entry.