Family is an incredibly important aspect of life, emotional well-being, and community for so many people around the world. Unfortunately, immigration status can separate families, putting a serious physical barrier between a person and their loved ones. To address these issues, thousands of families every year pursue family-based immigration to reunite in the United States. Cheryl Deptowicz-Diaz, a Los Angeles family immigration lawyer at Diaz Law Firm, works alongside individuals and families to obtain legal immigration status in the United States. Through DLF’s dedicated and compassionate advocacy, we have been able to help hundreds of families reunite in the United States. To learn more about how we can help, consider contacting us at (626) 261-0402 today.
What Is Family-Based Immigration?
There are several different avenues available to individuals who wish to immigrate to the United States. One of these avenues is family-based immigration, which requires a person to have a familial relationship with a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident. Over half of all immigration to the United States is family-based, meaning this method is extremely common compared to other methods of immigration.
Immediate Relative Visa Vs. Family Preference Visa
Based on United States law, family-based immigration visas fall under one of two categories: immediate relative or family preference. Immediate relative visas are designed for the spouse, unmarried children (under the age of 21), or parents of a United States citizen. The number of immediate relative visas granted each year is not restricted.
Family preference visas, on the other hand, can be granted to more distant relatives of United States citizens as well as certain relationships with Lawful Permanent Residents. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services utilizes five specific categories to determine priority when granting family preference visas. In order of priority, these categories include:
- Unmarried children (age 21 or over) of United States citizens
- Spouses and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of Lawful Permanent Residents
- Unmarried children (age 21 or over) of Lawful Permanent Residents
- Married children (any age) of United States citizens
- Siblings of adult United States citizens
It should be noted that each category of family preference visas is limited in number. This means that there are annual limits placed on how many visas are given out in each category, as well as per-country limits on the number of individuals who are admitted from a single country each year.
How Can Diaz Law Firm Help?
Diaz Law Firm prides itself on offering holistic family immigration services. DLF has been representing families through this process for well over a decade and understands how to navigate even the most complex cases. Specifically, their Los Angeles family immigration lawyer has experience providing legal guidance to successfully work through the following types of cases:
- Immediate Relative Visas: These visas are available to the spouses, children, and parents of United States citizens. We have worked closely with families to apply for IR visas, including same-sex/LGBTQIA+ couples as well as couples who have adopted a child internationally.
- Fiancé Visas: The K-1 and K-2 visas are designed for the foreign-born fiancé of a United States citizen and their children. The K-1/K-2 visas are nonimmigrant visas, meaning they are not designed to grant a person legal immigration status permanently. Rather, these visas are temporary, allowing the fiancé and their children to travel to the United States to marry their partner, then adjust their status and obtain a Green Card.
- Nonimmigrant Visa for the Spouse and Children of Lawful Permanent Residents: The V visa, a nonimmigrant visa for the spouse and children of Green Card holders, was designed to reunite families who are in the process of completing the immigration process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pursuing family-based immigration can be a confusing and overwhelming process. Understanding where to begin is one of the most important steps. The following is by far the most frequently asked question that we receive regarding family-based immigration.
How to Apply for Family Immigration to the United States?
Often, one of the first questions that a person has when initially consulting with DLF’s Los Angeles family immigration lawyer is: “how do I begin the application process?” The confusion is understandable, as United States immigration law is constantly changing, and the various different visa categories can be difficult to navigate. While the details of the process change slightly depending on the type of visa that you apply for and the nature of your family relationship, the general steps include:
- File the initial petition. The United States citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident must begin the process by filing a petition, which is typically Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, or Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé. The appropriate form is filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- NVC Processing. After the USCIS approves the petition, the case is transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing. Here, you will be required to submit all relevant forms, financial documents, and an Affidavit of Support.
- Complete the Online Visa Application. The applicant is now responsible for completing an online visa application, the DS-260, as well as collecting and submitting civil documents related to their case.
- Applicant Interview. The interview process is a major component of the case. The United States citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident family member may not attend this interview with the applicant.
- Decision. The application for family-based immigration will either be approved or denied. If the application is denied, the consular officer will provide a reason for the decision. In some cases, further information is necessary to fully process the case.
The immigration process is time-consuming and difficult, requiring careful preparation and a breadth of evidence to support your case. Even the smallest errors in your application or interview can greatly delay the process or even result in the denial of your petition. It is for this reason that many families seek guidance from a Los Angeles family immigration lawyer. In doing so, they can rest assured that all common pitfalls are avoided and that their application is as strong as possible, therefore reducing the likelihood of delays or denial.
Hiring a Los Angeles Family Immigration Lawyer Near You
According to data from the State Department, there are currently four million people waiting abroad to reunite with their families due to immigration backlogs. Over the years, wait times have increased drastically, forcing many families to spend years waiting to obtain legal immigration status in the United States. Hiring a Los Angeles immigration lawyer can help immensely to avoid these issues and ensure that your application is completed accurately and thoroughly. To begin the process of pursuing reuniting with your loved ones on American soil, consider contacting the Los Angeles office at (626) 261-0402 today.