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What Is The Process To Apply For A Family Visa?

The very first step in this process is you must qualify as an immediate relative, or in the family preference category, and the person petitioning for you has to fill out an application with the United States Citizen and Immigration Services. The name and number is called an I-130, which is the form number from immigration, and that is filled out by the person petitioning for you. You have to submit supporting documentation, and that petition has to be approved before anything further. Immigration will want to verify your family relationship. You have to send either a birth certificate or a marriage certificate if your spouse is petitioning for you. You have to send a copy of the visa and your passport.

If you have children, birth certificates are needed. Therefore, that is the very first step to take. After that petition is approved, then you can apply for what is called adjustment of status if you are in the United States, and that would entail filling out a form called the adjustment of status application, or I-45. That is if you are in the United States. Once that is approved then you are summoned for an interview before the Immigration Services, and if you pass that interview, you will become a green card holder and an approved permanent resident. The process if you are not in the United States is a bit different, but it starts with the I130. Once the I130 is issued, then the case is forwarded to the department of state, then you have to fill out forms that are equivalent of the adjustment of status with the department of state, and the person who is being sponsored would have an interview with their home embassy.

If that interview is approved, they will receive a visa, and get to return home to the United States with their relatives. That is the process. It differs if you are in the United States or not.

How Does It Affect My Application If The Sponsor Family Member Falls Out Of Status?

If the family member petitioning for you is a United States citizen, than you do not have to worry, because the citizenship will not be revoked. So that would not be a problem. This question pertains if your family member is a legal permanent resident, and has a green card. If they fall out of status for some reason, then their green card may be revoked by the United States, which could happen. In that situation, the application can still go forward because the United States Citizenship Immigration Services considered the application at the time of filing. So if at the time of filing with your sponsor, was in status with no problems, the immigration service usually does not cancel your application, but they do have discretion to do so. In rare circumstances, it may be a problem, but it depends on why and what the situation was surrounding the person falling out of status.

What Are The Biggest Challenges In Family Based Immigration Cases?

The biggest challenges is filling out the forms correctly, submitting the proper documentation to immigration, and preparing for the interview. Those are probably the three biggest challenges. You really have to be knowledgeable of the forms, and what immigration requires in their application and supporting the application. When it comes down to the interview process, especially for spouse’s petitions, they are looking to see that there is a bonafide marriage, and that the marriage is not intended just for immigration purposes, which is illegal.

It is very important to sit down with the applicants whether they are spouses or even family members, and make sure they are prepared to answer questions by the immigration officer, and proceed with the adjustment of status interview. Many of individuals go to agencies or other entities that are not experienced Visa immigration attorneys. I see this all the time. Their paperwork is not filled out correctly. They did not submit supporting evidence. Maybe they did not even pay the proper fees. It is very important that an attorney fill out the paperwork, and we are those attorneys. We have experience in doing this form of law.

Can Someone Go Through This Process Without An Attorney?

It is realistic to do this process on your own, but as I stated earlier, in my experience I would not recommend it, mainly because immigration laws change often. The forms change often. If you go to the immigration website,, and you look at the forms, you will see expiration dates on each single form. They are constantly, constantly updated, and there are new questions every time. The questions are phrased differently. You really have to keep up with the law, and keep up with the forms

A layperson that would try to do this by themselves is not recommended. I am sure there are individuals that do have enough knowledge, and they are not lawyers, but I would not recommend it.

What Steps Can Someone Take If Their Application Is Denied?

Many steps can be taken. You must realize there are different levels of appeals. The first is if you are denied, immigration has an obligation to detail why they are denying you, and they have to send you a letter specifying the reason for denial. They do afford you an opportunity in that letter to appeal this decision, but you have to appeal usually within thirty days. It is a very short window, and you have to appeal right away, or you lose your right to appeal this decision. If you appeal, and you are not happy with their answer, you can appeal to a federal court in your district. It may go all the way up to the Supreme Court.

What Sets Your Firm Apart In Handling Family Based Immigration Cases?

In our firm, we have a tremendous amount of experience with these petitions. I myself have over fifteen years of experience in working with immigration in the family-based preference. We have paralegals here that help us do the forms, and the paperwork. We have a knowledgeable supporting staff. Most importantly, we are very sensitive to our clients’ needs, and we understand where they are coming from. We are a bi-lingual practice, specializing in Spanish speaking attorneys. We have access to interpreters if need be at all times. Many of our clients do not speak English, so we try to bridge that with interpreters in this firm.

We also have a good working relationship with many of the immigration officers, and judges in the tristate area. That helps if there issues with the applications, or they are referred to immigration court because it is denied. I think what sets us apart is our commitment, our staff, and the resources we have here in our office.

Read on to find out about Process For A Family Visa. Call the law offices of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC for a FREE Initial Consultation at (914) 574-8330 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

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