As a permanent resident (green card holder) or citizen, if you have a family member still in your home country who would like to move to the U.S., you may be able to sponsor their visa petition. Family-based immigration visas can help you bring a loved one to the U.S.
If you want to sponsor a family member’s visa application, here are some questions you should ask a family-based immigration lawyer in Connecticut.
How Do You Sponsor a Family Member’s Visa Petition?
To begin the process, you must be a U.S. permanent resident or citizen and file Form I-130 with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office. Along with your sponsorship petition (Form I-130), you must also send any supporting documents to prove your relationship with the visa applicant.
The USCIS will either accept or reject your petition. If rejected, you may adjust your initial petition to correct any mistakes and resubmit the form. If accepted, the USCIS will send your petition to the National Visa Center.
When the National Visa Center processes the petition, there may be a waiting period depending on the type of visa the applicant intends to apply for. Unlimited family visas qualify for immediate application, but family preference visas often have a waiting list.
The applicant must apply at their local U.S. consulate in their home country. When they arrive in the U.S., they can apply for their permanent resident card.
To ensure that you complete the paperwork properly and submit the correct documentation for your visa petition for sponsorship, you should consult with a family-based immigration lawyer in Connecticut. An experienced immigration attorney can help you gather the appropriate documents and review your petition to avoid the delays that come with an initial rejection.
What Types of Family-Based Immigration Visas Are There?
The United States offers two categories of family-based immigration visas: unlimited family visas and family preference visas. What’s the difference between categories? Unlimited family visas have no annual cap on the number of visas awarded due to the close relationship between the immigrant and the permanent resident or citizen. On the other hand, family preference visas have annual caps and a waiting list.
Unlimited Family Visas
Certain relatives qualify for family visas with no cap and no waiting list. Family visas in this category include:
- IR-1 visas for spouses
- IR-2 visas for children under 21 who are not married
- IR-3 visas for children adopted abroad
- IR-4 visas for foreign children adopted in the U.S.
- IR-5 visas for parents of U.S. citizens
Family Preference Visas (Limited Quantity)
Family preference visas, also called Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) visas, cover more extended family relationships, and have award caps and waiting lists. Family preference visas include:
- F-1 first preference visas, limited to 23,400 annual awards, for unmarried children
- F-2 second preference visas, limited to 114,200 annual awards, for spouses, unmarried children, and minor children
- F-3 third preference visas, limited to 23,400 annual awards, for married children
- F-4 fourth preference visas, limited to 65,000 annual awards, for siblings and their spouses or minor children
Immigration laws are complex, often creating barriers to entry for certain families who want to live together in the U.S. Speaking with a knowledgeable immigration attorney in Connecticut can help you develop a plan to sponsor your loved ones on their path to U.S. permanent residence or citizenship.
Contact an Experienced Immigration Attorney in Connecticut
To schedule a consultation with a family-based immigration lawyer in Connecticut, contact us at the Law Offices of James A. Welcome. We speak English and Spanish so we can help you understand your next steps in petitioning to sponsor your family member’s immigration. Call us today at (475) 241-0824 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.