Everything You Should Know About Applying for a US Family Visa

About Applying for a US Family Visa - Everything You Should Know

About Applying for a US Family Visa – Everything You Should Know | The US Family visa allows certain family members of US Citizens or Green card holders (legal permanent residents) to immigrate to the US or remain permanently in the country. This type of visa is also commonly referred to as “Green Card Sponsorship”

The US Immigration only gives the privilege of a family visa or green card sponsorship to specific family members. The family relationships that qualify for this type of visa are broadly divided into two groups. The immediate relative application and preference cases application 

Who can file for a US family Visa

Any adult citizen of the United States or a legal permanent resident in the United States that is 21 years old or older can file for a petition to sponsor a family member for a family visa 

US Family Visa for immediate relatives 

This category of the family Visa petition is for immediate relatives of a US citizen or green card holders such as a spouse, parent, or child. There is no limit on the number of immediate relative applications that can be filed or approved in any given year. This means there is no waiting list for applicants and such applications are processed within the time it takes for the government to approve them. 

US family visa for preference relatives

The second category of family-based visa applications is for preference cases. This refers to more distant family relationships with a US citizen or some specified relationship with a US green card holder (lawful permanent resident). 

United States citizens can file family visa applications for their spouse, children, parent, or siblings. Lawful permanent residents in the US can only file an immigration visa petition for their spouse, and unmarried son or daughter. 

The number of immigrants that are admitted yearly in the preference relative category is limited. This means there is a waiting list for this category of application especially for individuals born in countries from where there is a higher number of applicants trying to immigrate to the US to join their family. because of this, the waiting period for this category of application can be as much as 20 years in some cases particularly in countries that see very high demand. 

Form I-130 Explained 

Form I-130 is officially designated the “Petition for Alien Relative” form. This is the form you have to fill if you intend to apply for a family visa. the purpose of Form I-130 is to establish an authentic family relationship between a US citizen or green card holder and someone seeking a green card or visa into the United States.

So in the case of a family visa for a spouse, the I-130 form will prove that the marriage between the two parties involved is legal and valid. In addition to filing this form, the couple will also submit other documents that prove the validity of their marriage such as a joint bank account, photos, joint insurance documents, and of course their marriage certificate). 

Filling Form I-130 with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the first step in the family-based visa application process. In the case of a preference family visa application, filling this form reserves a spot on the waiting list. Note that the USCIS prioritizes applications based on the date the form I-130 petition was received. 

Can you visit the US while your family visa application is pending?

While this is possible, it can be quite complicated. To visit the US, you will need to apply for a temporary visit visa. But for this application to be successful, you have to prove that you do not intend to remain in the US beyond the period of the temporary visit. This is referred to as proving that you do not have immigrant intent.

But given that currently having a pending family Visa application means you have intentions of obtaining an immigrant visa in the US, getting a temporary visa for a visit will be difficult. Convincing a consular that you do not have immigrant intent when you have already filed for Alien Relative Petition filed out is the most challenging part of visiting the US temporarily when your application is pending. 

Need help? 

To find out more about the peculiarities of a family Visa application to the US and the application process, you can speak to a US immigration lawyer specialist. A lawyer will be able to provide you with all the information you need to ensure that your petition and Visa application are approved and all the possible pitfalls to avoid.