Assistance for Temporary or Permanent Processing
When assisting family members bring in loved ones, the first question that must be answered is whether the loved one is coming for a visit or if they want to stay? Knowing how and when to apply as well as what order the applications should be made can be critical in allowing a loved one to enter the United States.
Often the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has to work with the Department of State (DOS). The USCIS works primarily with applications made in the United States and the DOS works with embassies and consulates abroad. Contact an experienced visa attorney to help guide you through the process.
Issues with Admissibility
Often times the initial application is made inside the United States and then transferred to the DOS outside the United States. Questions such as admissibility often arise.
Admissibility questions typically involve:
- The lawful intent of the person entering the United States, and
- The legality of the entrance based on past entries to the United States, health, poverty condition and criminal history.
It is often not enough just to fill out a form and send it in to government. A proper review of a case requires investigation into issues of eligibility and admissibility.
Visas for Temporary Processing
When bringing in a loved one for a temporary visit, the foremost applications are as follows:
- B2 Visitor for Pleasure
- K1 Fiancés (Intending to Marry Within 90 days of Entry)
- K3 Visitor Spouse (Intending to File Permanent Residency Application in the U.S.)
- K4 Visitor Child (Intending to File Permanent Residency Application in the U.S.)
- V Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident (Intending to File Permanent Residency Application in the U.S.)
All of these visas can be processed in relatively less time than an application for permanent residency (months versus years). Often, looking at the eligibility and appropriateness of these visas is the first step to getting a loved one here faster. If a loved one does not qualify for one of these visa applications, then other categories for business or employment may be considered as an alternative.
Visas for Permanent Processing
When deciding on permanent visa applications, or applications for lawful permanent residency, one must look to the various categories of visas available.
The different categories govern the eligible relationship and visa priority. “Visa Priority” has to do with the limitations on the number of people who can immigrate to the United States each year. The U.S. government has set limitations on the number of persons who can apply for a family member based on the petitioner’s status and the relationship between the petitioner and the foreign family member. These limitations are set out in five categories.
The different categories are and annual limitations are:
- Immediate Relative: Spouses, Children, Parents of United States Citizens: No numerical limitation on this category. Visas are immediately available after normal processing time.
- First: 23,400 Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens, plus any not required for fourth preference
- Second: 114,200 Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents plus unused first preference and any from the worldwide family preference level which exceeds 226,000
- Third: 23,400 Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens plus those not required by first and second preferences.
- Fourth: 65,000 Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.
As over the years many more people have applied for these family-based visas then there are numbers available in category one through five, there are backlogs not only the visa processing time but also, on the availability of the visa. In other words, just because you have a visa approved, does not mean you can use it. After the processing time is over, the visa is issued. However, the family member(s) may have to stand in line to use the visa due to limitations set forth above.
Visa Processing Wait Times
As the length of the line changes as the visas are processed and used, the government provides reports on the time that one should expect to wait and when to process. This report is called the “visa bulletin” and is published by the DOS. The visa bulletin provides dates called “priority dates” that give the reader the date the government is actually processing at this time.
This date is matched with the date of filing the application, also called the “priority date. By referencing the date of filing the application as well as the date being processed, one is given an idea of how long the wait is as well as whether one should apply to use the visa to enter the United States.
Applying to Become a Permanent Resident
Entering the United States as a permanent resident can be accomplished in two ways.
- One, applying in the United States called an “adjustment of status.”
- Two, applying outside the United States called “consular processing.”
When applying to become a permanent resident through a family petitioner, one must consider all of the factors mentioned in this section.
- Should a non-immigrant visa be used before applying for permanent residency?
- Will this process speed processing and entering the United States?
- What category of immigrant visa is appropriate?
- Can the category be changed?
- What is the processing time?
- What is the priority date?
- Should adjustment of status or consular processing be used?
Let a Dallas Family Immigration Attorney Help You
In answering these questions a detailed family background must be evaluated as well as factors relating to where a person is from, what family members are in the United States and whether a person is admissible based on prior entries, criminal background, health, poverty, family ties, and hardships amongst many other factors.
CALL 214-799-3961 TO SPEAK WITH AN ATTORNEY.