To enter the United States legally as either a long-term visitor or a permanent resident, you must apply for and receive a visa from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, the specific visa you are eligible to apply for depends on the reason you intend to enter the United States, as well as the party who has agreed to sponsor your emigration from your country of origin.
Making sense of USCIS procedures, the immigration laws and effectively pursuing the correct visa for your circumstances can be a lot less stressful with help from a San Diego visa lawyer. Once retained, a seasoned immigration attorney from Hacking Immigration Law LLC could help you understand the regulations and requirements USCIS enforces for applications, provide legal advice, and ensure you fulfill them to the best of your abilities.
Types of Immigrant Visas Available in San Diego
There are dozens of different categories of visas that a person could pursue if they want to obtain legal permanent residence in the United States. Generally, these can be divided into two major categories, based on who is sponsoring a prospective immigrant’s application, including:
- Anyone who wants to move to the United States to join family members who are already legal permanent residents, naturalized citizens, or citizens by birth in the U.S. should pursue a family-based immigration visa.
- Anyone intending to move to the U.S. for occupational purposes may pursue an employer-sponsored visa, which has numerous priority levels depending on the particular industry in which a prospective immigrant works.
Other visas that do not fit into these categories, such as the diversity visa and returning resident visas, may be more appropriate for immigrants in particular situations or coming from particular countries of origin. A local immigration attorney could clarify what type of visa an individual should pursue based on their unique circumstances and immigration matters.
Applying for an Immigrant Visa
Let’s take a look at the basic steps cited by immigration attorneys for applying for an immigrant visa.
Step 1: Complete the form
An experienced immigration lawyer has given two main forms needed when applying for an immigrant visa:
- If you’re a legal permanent resident and citizen intending to sponsor a family member, you should file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
- If you’re a U.S.-based employer seeking to bring in a foreign employee, you must file Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.
Step 2: Pay and submit documents
In either scenario above, the sponsor must also pay processing fees and submit an Affidavit of Support—Form I-864—affirming that they accept financial responsibility for the immigrant they intend to sponsor until that immigrant becomes a naturalized citizen or earns enough work credits to receive Social Security benefits.
Once these fees are paid and documents processed, the petitioner must complete Form DS-260, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, and submit it to USCIS along with civil documents to support the application.
Step 3: Interview
The last stage of getting family-sponsored or temporary work visas is an interview with the prospective immigrant, which may include the following:
- a medical examination
- documentation review
- conversations with any family members, such as a spouse and children, the applicant intends to bring with them
While neither sponsors nor legal counsel can attend this interview with an applicant, immigration lawyers in San Diego could provide crucial assistance to both petitioners and applicants in preparing for this visa interview process.
Speak with a San Diego Visa Attorney Today
Unfortunately, the process for pursuing a visa is often incredibly complex. Only a certain number of visas are approved per year. One mistake or failure to comply with certain USCIS requirements during the application process could result in significant delays or an outright rejection.
To give yourself the best odds of success with your application, you should retain an experienced immigration attorney in San Diego. Get in touch today with our law firm to learn more about application procedures and how a qualified attorney could help you navigate them effectively.