While certain close family members of current United States citizens are eligible to apply for lawful entry through an Immediate Relative Family visa, other family members of citizens and lawful permanent residents must instead apply for a family preference visa. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) make a limited number of these visas available each fiscal year and access to them is available through a preference order that prioritizes certain applicants over others.
Applying for and acquiring family preference visas in Washington DC is a time-consuming and complicated process. As such, having an experienced immigration lawyer is important for increasing your chances of successfully immigrating to the U.S. with this kind of visa. Seek guidance from a Hacking Immigration Law, LLC legal professional who has helped families like yours before.
Preference Categories for Family-Based Immigration
Every fiscal year, the United States makes an absolute maximum of 480,000 Family Preference visas available for applicants from all over the world. In Washington DC, there are five preference categories for family preference visas, with higher categories corresponding to a better chance of obtaining a visa from this limited supply.
First Preference (F1)
The first preference category is for the children of current U.S. citizens who are older than 21 and not married. Unmarried children under 21 would be eligible for immediate relative visas.
Second Preference (F2)
There are two subcategories within the second preference category. The first (F2A) is for spouses and children under 21 of immigrants who have legal permanent resident status. The second (F2B) is for children of lawful permanent residents who are over 21 and unmarried.
Third Preference (F3)
Married children of U.S. citizens seeking family preference visas fall into the third preference category. Married children of lawful permanent residents are not eligible for immediate relative or family preference visas.
Fourth Preference (F4)
The fourth preference category is reserved for siblings of U.S. citizens. The U.S. citizen in question must be older than 21 to sponsor a brother or sister for a family preference visa.
Applying for a Family Preference Visa in Washington DC
As with immediate relative visas, the first step to acquiring a family preference visa in Washington DC is for the prospective recipient’s sponsoring family member to file Form I-130 on their behalf. After the sponsor has submitted all necessary documentation and paid requisite fees, the prospective immigrant must fill out their online Form DS-260 and submit required civil documents, a process which a knowledgeable immigration attorney could provide irreplaceable assistance completing.
Following this, the National Visa Center schedules an interview for the prospective recipient at a USCIS field office or their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, depending on whether the applicant is currently inside or outside U.S. borders. Once this is done, the applicant must wait for processing to conclude and for a final verdict to be decided upon.
Call a Washington DC Attorney for Help Pursuing a Family Preference Visa
Immigrating through a family connection is one of the most common ways for foreign nationals and citizens to lawfully enter the United States on a long-term basis. However, there are restrictions on how many people who are immediate relatives of current citizens may immigrate in this way each year, as well as restrictions on which extended family members could acquire this type of visa.
Family preference visas in Washington DC are in high demand, so it may be in your best interest to get help from a skilled immigration attorney when it comes to pursuing yours. Call today for a consultation.