Slidell Family Immigration Lawyer
Helping Slidell families reconnect with their loved ones
Once an individual attains permanent legal residency in America, it is common for them to try to help family members come to the United States as well. At the Law Office of James A. Graham, our Slidell family immigration lawyers help people across South Louisiana bring their relatives to the U.S. through the family immigration process. We use our skills and understanding of family immigration laws to help ensure that our clients have the documentation they need to expedite their visa applications and give them the best chance possible for approval.
How can we help?
- What are the various kinds of family immigration visas?
- Are there limits on the number of eligible family immigration visas?
- What are the requirements for obtaining a family immigration visa in Slidell?
- What should I bring to my Embassy or Consulate interview?
- How long does the family immigration process take in Louisiana?
- Do you have a Slidell family immigration lawyer near me?
What are the various kinds of family immigration visas?
If your spouse, child, parent, or another relative resides in a foreign country and desires permanent residency in the U.S., they must acquire a family-based immigrant visa. The U.S. State Department outlines two primary categories of family immigrant visas.
The initial category relates to direct relatives—spouses, unmarried children under age 21, orphans adopted internationally or in the process of adoption, and parents. The sponsoring individual must be a U.S. citizen and a resident of Louisiana, and sponsors for parents are required to be at least 21 years old.
The second category focuses on extended family members and is known as a family preference visa. The sponsor must be a U.S. citizen; however, under certain circumstances, a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) can also act as a sponsor—our experienced Slidell immigration attorneys will outline this process.
According to the National Immigration Forum, the eligible family preferences include:
- Unmarried children of U.S. citizens, along with their spouses and children.
- LPRs’ spouses, minor children, and unmarried children over the age of 21.
- Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, along with their spouses and minor children.
- Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, along with their spouses and minor children, as long as the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years old.
U.S. citizens can submit an immigrant visa petition for a spouse, son, daughter, parent, or brother or sister. However, LPRs are only allowed to apply for a spouse or unmarried son or daughter who is unmarried.
- Fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen (K-1) or the fiancé(e)’s child (K-2).
- Widower of a U.S. citizen provided that the applicant was married to the U.S. spouse at the time of the spouse's demise.
An abused spouse (battery or extreme cruelty victim) of a U.S. citizen or LPR or an abused child (unmarried and under 21) of a U.S. citizen or LPR.
Are there limits on the number of eligible family immigration visas?
There is no limit on the number of immediate family visas available. However, since 1990, the U.S. has enforced an annual limit of 480,000 family preference visas, and this allotment is decreased by the number of immediate family visas issued.
Under the Immigration Forum, approximately 40 percent of family preference visas are given to the spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents, while just under six percent are designated for siblings of U.S. citizens. The U.S. also applies a seven percent cap on family immigration visas for each country, including immediate and family preference categories.
What are the requirements for obtaining a family immigration visa in Slidell?
Several criteria must be met by both the applicant and the sponsor, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) oversees whether these requirements have been met.
Sponsoring relatives must be at least 18 years old, although, in certain situations, they may be required to be 21. The sponsor must petition the USCIS and provide evidence of the family relationship to prove that the applicant is actually their spouse, child, parent, or another relative. They must also sign an affidavit confirming the applicant’s financial responsibility.
The applicant must undergo a thorough background and security check that reviews their criminal, health, and national security history. They must also pledge not to require public assistance at the government's expense.
The National Visa Center will review the family immigration application and might request additional forms, documents, and the applicable processing fees. The applicant’s interview is conducted at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate office. They undergo a medical examination conducted by an approved doctor who administers necessary vaccinations. After all these steps are completed, the family immigration visa is ready to be approved.
What should I bring to my Embassy or Consulate interview?
According to the U.S. State Department, your family member should bring the following documents to the interview:
- The appointment letter issued by the National Visa Center (NVC)
- Valid, unexpired passports for each applicant—passports must remain “valid for at least six months beyond the intended date of entry into the United States”
- Two identical copies of a colored photograph for each applicant
- DS-260 Confirmation Page
- Original or certified copies of all civil documents uploaded into the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC), e.g., a birth certificate, marriage certificate, military records, etc.
- Any outstanding visa application fees that have not been fully paid
Your loved ones can reschedule the interview dates for any reason. However, they must promptly contact the Embassy or Consulate because if they miss the scheduled interview, this may result in the termination of the application. If this happens, any fees already paid will not be refunded.
How long does the family immigration process take in Louisiana?
The immediate family immigrant application process goes quickly when the applications are fully completed, all fees are paid, and the interview proceeds without issues. However, family preference applications may take years or even decades to process due to the number of available visas, country-specific caps, the nature of the family relationship, and the ability to acquire the necessary documentation. Significant delays for family preference visas are not uncommon, with applicants from high-demand countries like Mexico, China, India, and the Philippines, experiencing the most extended wait times.
Do you have a Slidell family immigration lawyer near me?
The Law Office of James A. Graham serves clients across South Louisiana and is conveniently located in New Orleans and Slidell. We also offer phone or video conferences for individuals who cannot travel.
Speak with our experienced Slidell family immigration attorneys today
At the Law Office of James A. Graham, our Slidell immigration lawyers understand the distinct challenges of those seeking a family immigration visa for a spouse, child, parent, sibling, or other family member. Although dealing with USCIS is intimidating for many people, our lawyers will answer your questions and be with you throughout the entire process. To learn more about how family immigration works and how we can help, please call us or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation with a family immigration lawyer in Slidell.