Family Immigration Attorneys in Corpus Christi & Dallas, Texas
In 2020, according to data on petitions submitted to the State Department, almost 4 million foreign nationals were on waiting lists for a visa. Of those, the overwhelming majority were family members, including spouses and minor children, totaling 3.8 million.
Most of those 3.8 million are no doubt family members of immigrants in the U.S. with lawful permanent resident (LPR) status — in other words, those with Green Cards. Relatives of LPRs face quotas, whereas spouses, parents, and children (unmarried and under 21) of U.S. citizens face no quotas.
Obtaining a visa to join your family in the U.S. can be a daunting challenge for relatives of immigrant residents. Quotas alone can drag out the process for months or years.
If you live in the Corpus Christi or Dallas-Ft. Worth areas of Texas, The Torres Law Firm can help you navigate the visa process. The more complete your application is with supporting documents and evidence, the better your chance of a speedy processing time. We can help you get off to a good start in the process to help increase your chances of success in sponsoring your family member.
Types of Family-Based Visas
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) limits the number of family-based immigrant visas issued every year. The Department of State allocates the annual quota among the different categories, while the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sets standards for eligibility.
As mentioned earlier, there’s a distinction between U.S. citizens and foreign nationals with Green Cards in terms of facing a quota system. The Department of State accordingly divides family immigration (the sponsorship for visas) into two types:
This category applies only to a close family member of a U.S. citizen — in other words, to a spouse, child, or parent. Children must be under 21 and unmarried. Parents can only be sponsored by U.S. citizens who are sons or daughters 21 years of age or older. For this group of people, there are no quotas.
This category is where yearly quotas kick in. For U.S. citizens, the group includes brothers and sisters and sons and daughters older than 21. LPRs are limited to sponsoring spouses and unmarried sons and daughters.
A maximum of 480,000 visas in all categories is allowed per year. The quota for family preference visas is determined by subtracting the number of immediate relative applications from 480,000. Though immediate relative applications total nearly 70 percent of all visas available, the law requires that at least 226,000 visas be allotted by family preference; thus total visas often exceed 480,000.
The Sponsorship Process
The family member on U.S. soil, whether citizen or Green Card holder, must begin the process by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, along with supporting documentation and evidence. The application will be forwarded by the USCIS to the National Visa Center (NVC). When a visa becomes available, the NVC will notify the U.S. consulate nearest to your relative. The consulate will advise your relative of how the process will work from that point on.
Eligibility for Family Visas
Even though a visa may be available, Section 212 of the INA places barriers to admission into the United States based on a variety of factors. These factors include:
Health – Having a communicable disease or lacking required vaccinations; physical or mental disorders; or drug abuse.
Criminal Grounds – Committing a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT); conviction of two or more crimes; controlled substance sales or trafficking; human trafficking; prostitution; or money laundering.
Present in the U.S. without Permission – Anyone who has previously, or currently, resided in the United States and who has entered without inspection (EWI), which generally means not having gone through a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspection
Fraud and/or Misrepresentation on the Application – Willful fraud or misrepresentation of a material fact
Other categories apply as well. For some categories, waivers may be available. For others, there may be time limits before the petitioner can reapply (some can be barred for life). If your relative runs into an inadmissibility stumbling block, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible.
Put an Experienced Legal Team on Your Side
It may seem like a simple matter to file the initial I-130 form to begin the process of obtaining a visa for your relative, but hurdles and stumbling blocks will almost invariably arrive. When the USCIS receives your petition, it may have questions and seek clarification or further evidence to prove your family relationship. This can stretch out the processing period, which may already be considerable depending on the quota category into which you fall.
Don’t risk your chances at successfully securing a visa for your family member by attempting to navigate this process on your own. Call The Torres Law Firm today to work with a legal team that has extensive experience with family immigration law. Our attorneys can walk you through the process step by step, answer all of your questions, and do everything they can to help you pursue the best possible outcome for your situation. Reach out today to schedule your own case consultation.
Family Immigration Attorneys in Corpus Christi, Texas
Improve your chances of success from the beginning by presenting the most complete I-130 package possible. At The Torres Law Firm, we can review your situation and advise you of what you need to include with your petition. We will then stand by you if the USCIS has questions or demands, and we can help you cut through any red tape. If you’re looking to sponsor a family member for a visa to come to the U.S., and you’re located in Corpus Christi or Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas, contact The Torres Law Firm today to schedule a consultation!