Under current immigration law, both U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents can sponsor the immigration of certain family members to the United States. However, various restrictions apply to sponsors and petitioners in both situations, and even if you meet all the criteria for a family visa on paper, actually obtaining one can still be difficult.

A San Diego family visa lawyer could provide crucial guidance and support from start to finish of the application process, ensuring you comply with all applicable U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) guidelines and provide all the information necessary for that application to be accepted. If you want to maximize your chances of a favorable response from USCIS, retaining help from a skilled attorney from Hacking Immigration Law, LLC should be one of your first steps.

Immediate Relative Visas Versus Family Preference Visas

If someone wants to bring a family member into the United States to live here as a legal permanent resident, they must pursue one of two types of family-based immigrant visas. They also must be willing to serve as their family member’s sponsor, meaning they are financially liable for the sponsee and must reimburse the costs of any public benefits they use for a lengthy period of time.

Provided they are at least 21 years of age, U.S. citizens can pursue immediate relative family visas for their spouse, underage children, or parents. There is no limit imposed by USCIS on the number of immediate relative visas that can be granted in a fiscal year.

Alternatively, family preference visas—which allow U.S. citizens to sponsor more distant family members like siblings and legal permanent residents to sponsor a spouse or unmarried child—are only granted in a limited capacity each year and typically require more documentation during the application process. A San Diego attorney could help a prospective sponsor or immigrant determine what type of family visa they may be able to pursue in their unique situation.

Applying for a Family Visa in San Diego

To apply for a family visa from within the United States, the prospective sponsor must submit Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative and pay the required fee for processing by the National Visa Center. Following this, the petitioner must submit Form I-864, which is an Affidavit of Support for the prospective visa recipient, and both the petitioner and the family member seeking a green card must complete Form DS-260, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration.

In addition to Form DS-260, a sponsor must also submit several civil documents confirming the prospective immigrant’s identity that are either printed in English or translated into English by a certified translator. After this step is complete, the immigrant seeking a family visa may need to submit to biometrics screening and an interview at the closest USCIS office before they receive a final decision on their application.

It is important to note that slightly different procedures are required for parties seeking one of these visas from outside U.S. borders. A lawyer in the area could provide further clarification about the steps an individual petitioner or prospective immigrant may need to take to get their family visa application processed.

Schedule a Meeting with a San Diego Family Visa Attorney

Successfully applying for a family visa requires many steps and often a great deal of patience, especially if you need to apply for a visa that is granted on a limited basis. Regardless of your individual circumstances, though, seeking guidance from seasoned legal counsel is a great way to help the application process go as smoothly as possible.

A knowledgeable San Diego family visa lawyer could provide the professional advice and support you may need to successfully reunite your family within the United States. To schedule an initial consultation, call today.