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If you have U.S. citizenship or Legal Permanent Resident status, you may be eligible to sponsor the immigration of certain family members into the United States. Likewise, if a family member of yours holds either of those qualifications, they may be able to help you apply for an immigrant visa.

No matter what your role is in this situation, though, you may have a lot of difficulty navigating USCIS regulations and achieving the result you want without guidance from a knowledgeable immigration attorney. By retaining a Washington DC family immigration lawyer, you could make the process of pursuing lawful immigration for your loved ones much simpler.

Available Visas for Family-Based Immigration

USCIS offers two types of family-based immigrant visas, one of which is meant for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, and the other of which is meant for immediate relatives of individuals with Legal Permanent Resident status and extended family members of U.S. citizens. A Washington DC attorney could provide crucial assistance pursuing either type of family-based immigration visa.

In this context, an “immediate relative” of a U.S. citizen could be someone’s spouse, unmarried child no older than 21, or parent. It is important to note that this visa may only extend to parents of U.S. citizens if the sponsor is at least 21 years old. Additionally, the widows of U.S. citizens are eligible for family-based immigrant visas and green cards if they were lawfully married to that citizen at the time of their death.

Other family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents may be eligible for Family Preference visas. These are distributed in the following preference order:

  • Unmarried children of U.S. citizens who are over 21 years old
  • Spouses and unmarried children under 21 of lawful permanent residents
  • Unmarried children over 21 of lawful permanent residents
  • Married children of U.S. citizens
  • Siblings of U.S. citizens, provided the citizen is at least 21 years old

Immigrant visas and green cards are generally not available to more distant relatives of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents like aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, or grandparents.

Basic Steps in the Family Preference Visa Application Process

A prospective recipient of a family-based immigrant visa cannot start the application process by themselves. The family member who will sponsor the immigrant must file Form I-130 on the applicant’s behalf, as well as pay certain application fees, submit an Affidavit of Support, and show through appropriate financial documentation that they are capable of supporting their family member should the need arise.

Once these steps are complete, the prospective recipient must complete Form DS-260 and submit it along with relevant civil and identifying documents proving their eligibility for a family-based visa. Depending on the circumstances, this could include documents like birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports from their country of origin, or documents confirming a legal adoption.

Finally, applicants generally must participate in an interview process either at a USCIS field office or the U.S. Consulate or Embassy closest to them in their country of origin. A lawyer in Washington DC could help someone seeking immigration through a family member through this difficult process.

Talk to a Washington DC Family Immigration Attorney Today

If you want to move to the U.S. based on your relationship with a citizen or lawful permanent resident, you have a long list of procedures and prerequisite conditions to fulfill before gaining lawful entry. Similarly, sponsoring a family member’s immigration to the U.S. comes with significant responsibilities that are important to understand before you file any forms with USCIS.

A Washington DC family immigration could provide the guidance you need to ensure your loved ones have a happy resolution to this process. Call today for a consultation.

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