As a U.S. citizen, you have the right to bring your close family members from another country to join you permanently. The U.S. does not limit the number of immediate family visas it issues, so your loved ones will not have to wait years to join you.

Although the U.S. favors family reunification, securing immediate relative visas in Groveland is still a complicated process. Seeking help from a local immigration attorney could ensure all goes smoothly and that you avoid unnecessary delays.

Qualifying for an Immediate Relative Visa

Immediate relative visas are not available for all of a citizen’s family members. Only lawfully wedded spouses, unmarried children under age 21, and the parents of a citizen at least 21 years old can qualify for an immediate relative visa.

The stepchildren of a U.S. citizen may qualify for an immediate relative visa if they are unmarried and under 21. The widow or widower of a citizen qualifies if their late spouse began the visa application process before their death. Adopted children qualify for immediate relative visas if:

  • They were adopted before their 16th birthday
  • The U.S. citizen can produce proof of a final, legal adoption
  • The child resided with the U.S. citizen parent or the citizen’s spouse for at least two years

If a child was over 16 but under 18 when they were adopted, they could still qualify for an immediate relative visa if they are the full or half sibling of another child in the family.

A citizen sponsoring an immediate relative must maintain their primary residence in the United States and plan to continue living here for the foreseeable future. The citizen must file an Affidavit of Support, agreeing to provide for the relative’s financial needs. A Groveland attorney could assist a citizen with completing and filing the Affidavit as part of their immediate relative visa application.

The Immediate Relative Visa Application Process

The process for bringing an immediate relative into the country depends on whether the relative is already legally in the United States. If so, the non-citizen may request to adjust their status. Your relative must go through the consular processing if they are not already in the country.

In either case, the citizen initiates the process by filing Form I-130, a Petition for Alien Relative. The petition identifies the relationship between the citizen and the relative. The form must state whether the relative will apply for a status adjustment or go through consular processing.

Once the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office approves the petition, the relative must file a separate application. All applicants, whether going through the adjustment of status process or consular processing, must submit substantial documentation, have a medical exam, and complete an in-person interview. An attorney in Groveland could help a citizen and their immediate relatives compile the necessary documents and prepare for a visa interview.

Obstacles to Immediate Family Immigration

Sometimes, a foreign national is denied a visa despite being the immediate relative of a Groveland resident. This is because immigration law makes certain people ineligible for entry to the country.

If the applicant has a history of entering the country illegally or overstaying a visa, they could be ineligible to receive an immediate family visa. A criminal record could also be disqualifying. Border officers can also deny entry to an immediate relative for medical reasons.

In some cases, the government is willing to waive an applicant’s ineligibility for an immediate family visa. A local attorney could explain whether pursuing a waiver in a specific case would be worthwhile.

Contact a Groveland Attorney for Help Securing an Immediate Relative Visa

Sponsoring an immediate family member to immigrate permanently to the United States is one of the benefits of citizenship. U.S. immigration policy favors family reunification, and the country offers unlimited immediate family visas annually. However, the documentation and other requirements involved with this process are substantial, and it is easy to make a mistake that delays an application. Get help from a local attorney when you plan to seek an immediate relative visa in Groveland.