Family-Based Visa Options for New Orleans Residents

Family-Based Visa Options for New Orleans ResidentsNew Orleans, with its renowned music, food, and culture, thrives on its diverse population. Our New Orleans immigration lawyers often work with residents who want to reunite with loved ones across borders. Family-based visa options pave the way for this dream, allowing U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) to sponsor family members for permanent residency in the United States.

Understanding the family-based visa process

Per the US Department of State, “A foreign citizen seeking to live permanently in the United States requires an immigrant visa (IV). To be eligible to apply for an IV, a foreign citizen must be sponsored by an immediate relative who is at least 21 years of age and is either a U.S. citizen or U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (that is, a green-card holder).”

The immigration system prioritizes reuniting close family members. Here’s a breakdown of the general process:

  • Eligibility:S. citizens can sponsor spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents. Green card holders can only sponsor spouses and unmarried children under 21.
  • Petition process (Form I-130): The sponsoring relative files a Petition for Alien Relative with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), establishing the familial relationship.
  • Visa application: Once the petition is approved, the beneficiary (family member) applies for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country.
  • Visa interview: The beneficiary attends a visa interview to assess their eligibility and admissibility to the United States.

What kinds of family-based visas are available?

There are two categories of family-based visas: immediate relative and preference system.

Immediate relative visas are generally available without a wait time for spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents of U.S. citizens. they include:

  • Spouse visa (IR-1/CR-1): Allows U.S. citizens to sponsor their spouse for permanent residency. For marriages entered abroad, the couple must have a bona fide (good faith) marriage and intend to live together in the United States.
  • Unmarried child visa (IR-2):S. citizens can sponsor their unmarried children under 21 for permanent residency.
  • Parent visa (IR-5):S. citizens over 21 can sponsor their biological parents for permanent residency.

Preference system visas are subject to limitations and prioritize specific categories of family members, with wait times varying depending on the category and visa availability. They include:

  • Academic Student visa (F-1): Green card holding can sponsor their spouse and unmarried children under age 21 for permanent residency. However, processing times can be lengthy.
  • Adult unmarried children visa (F-2A):S. citizens can sponsor their unmarried children over 21 for permanent residency. Wait times can be significant.
  • Brothers and sisters visa (F-4):S. citizens can sponsor their siblings if they are at least 21 years old. This category typically has the longest wait times.

Why do I need a New Orleans family immigration lawyer?

The family-based visa process involves intricate paperwork, legal requirements, and potential delays. Here’s how the New Orleans immigration lawyers at the Law Office of James A. Graham can assist you:

  • Eligibility assessment: We assess your situation and determine the most suitable visa category for your family member.
  • Petition and application preparation: We help ensure your petition and visa application package are complete and error-free, maximizing your chances of approval.
  • Communication with USCIS: We handle communication with the USCIS on your behalf, ensuring timely responses and updates on your case.
  • Interview preparation: We guide your family members through the visa interview process, helping boost their confidence and understand expectations.
  • Addressing complexities: We address specific challenges like public charge concerns or marriage fraud scrutiny. USCIS rigorously scrutinizes marriages to ensure their legitimacy. We can help you gather solid evidence of a bona fide marriage for spousal visa applications. We can also guide you if your loved one may be reliant on public benefits.

The joy of having loved ones close by is priceless. Family-based visas offer a path to reunite your family and share your love of New Orleans with them. By seeking legal guidance from an experienced New Orleans immigration lawyer, you can navigate the process with clarity and confidence, paving the way for a joyful reunion.

Don’t let the complexities of immigration law prevent you from reuniting with your loved ones. Contact the Law Office of James A. Graham today to schedule a consultation and discuss your family’s unique situation. Together, we can explore your options, navigate the legalities, and bring your family closer, allowing you to celebrate life’s special moments with the people who matter most – right here in the heart of New Orleans. Call our offices or complete our contact form to schedule your case review today.