While most types of immigrant visas are strictly limited on a yearly basis, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) imposes no such restrictions on immediate family visas. If you and your family member meet certain qualifying criteria, you may be able to sponsor their visa more quickly than with a distant relative.

However, the unlimited number of these visas available does not mean that all applications will be accepted. There are important requirements that you must fulfill as your family member’s sponsor in order to request a visa on their behalf. It is recommended that you work with an experienced immigration lawyer on your application. The attorneys at the Hacking Law Practice, LLC can walk you through the process of obtaining immediate relative visas in San Diego.

Who is Eligible for an Immediate Relative Visa?

There are five categories of immediate relative visas under current USCIS policies, all of which require sponsorship from a qualifying U.S. citizen. While there is no priority order for different types of immediate relative visas in San Diego, each category is meant for a different immediate family member:

  • IR-1 visa: for a U.S. citizen’s spouse, as well as any of their minor children
  • IR-2 visa: for a U.S. citizen’s unmarried child who is under 21 years old
  • IR-3 visa: for a minor child adopted by a U.S. citizen in a foreign country
  • IR-4 visa: for a minor child from a foreign nation that a U.S. citizen adopted within U.S. borders
  • IR-5 visa: for a U.S. citizen’s parent(s), provided that U.S. citizen is at least 21 years old

Certain other family members of U.S. citizens may be eligible for a family preference visa, as may the spouse and minor or unmarried children with legal permanent resident (LPR) status in the United States. However, only a limited number of these visas are made available each year, and there is generally a much longer backlog for them compared to immediate relative visas. A knowledgeable attorney could help a San Diego family apply for the appropriate type of visa.

Sponsoring an Immediate Relative in San Diego

The first step in pursuing an immediate relative visa in San Diego is for the family member with U.S. citizenship to fill out and submit Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. USCIS uses this form to affirm that a prospective sponsor actually has an immediate familial relationship with the prospective visa recipient.

If USCIS approves this initial form, they will forward it to the National Visa Center, where the applicant will be given a case number and invoice ID. At this point, the prospective visa recipient can proceed with the application process by filling out Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application and Registration. They will typically also need to complete and submit confirmation of medical exams and up-to-date vaccination records, as well as various other pieces of supporting documentation.

Finally, the prospective visa recipient will need to attend an interview at the U.S. consulate or embassy in their country of origin. In the interview, they will be asked to provide more information about their background and certain details of their application. If all goes smoothly, they should be approved for an immediate relative visa that allows them to enter the U.S. and join their family in San Diego.

Ask an Attorney for Help with Immediate Relative Visas in San Diego

This page is a broad summary of how the immediate relative visa application process works, and there are many finer details that must be considered as well. If you want to maximize your chances of a successful application, get legal advice and guidance from a well-practiced attorney in your area.

Our skilled immigration lawyers can explain everything you need to know about immediate family visas in San Diego. Call today to schedule a consultation.

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