Conroe Family-Based Visa Lawyers

There are several means by which a foreign national (hereinafter referred to as alien) can gain legal entry into the United States. An alien can come to the United States either as an immigrant or a non-immigrant. There are two ways in which an alien may enter the U.S. as an immigrant. The first is through employment-based petitions. That is, the alien can be sponsored by an employer. The second way is through family-based petitions. Generally, an alien can be sponsored by a relative who is a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, depending on the categories. In order to find out which immigrant or nonimmigrant petition would best meet your needs and qualifications, contact a Conroe family-based visa lawyers from Garg & Associates, PC immediately to schedule a consultation.

Below is a brief look at the family-based visa:

Family-Based Immigrant Petitions

There are two categories within family-based petitions in which a U.S. citizen and/or permanent resident may sponsor a relative. Depending on your status, you may sponsor an alien relative as (1) an immediate relative or (2) through one of four preferences.

Immediate Relatives

The Immigration and Naturalization Act (hereinafter referred to as “INA”) defines an “immediate relative” as:

  • Spouse of a U.S. Citizen A U.S. citizen spouse may sponsor an alien spouse abroad or if the person is currently residing in the U.S. under another status (including if the alien over-stayed or entered without inspection). If the marriage is less than two years, the alien spouse will be granted a conditional green card, which the alien must apply to remove such conditions after two years.
  • Children of a U.S. Citizen A U.S. citizen may sponsor his/her alien children abroad if the child is under 21 years of age and is unmarried. If the child is born after February 27, 2001, the child is a derivative U.S. citizen and may obtain a U.S. passport upon entry into the U.S. or from the U.S. consular abroad if all requirements are met. Please consult our experienced immigration attorneys in filing for U.S. passports.
  • Parents of a U.S. Citizen A U.S. citizen child that is at least 21 years of age, who can demonstrate that he/she can financially support his/her parents (or has a co-sponsor) may sponsor the alien parents. If the person wishes to sponsor both parents, two separate applications must be filed on behalf of the parents.

The advantages of filing an application for an immediate parent is that an immigrant visa will immediately be available for the alien relative to come to the U.S. There would be no waiting period other than the processing time, which varies depending on the country and the number of applications from said country.

Four Preferences of Other Family Sponsor Immigrant Petitions

Section 201 of the INA allows a minimum annual 226,000 visas issued to four other types of family-based sponsorships for alien relatives. This number is divided among four preferences, First Preference, Second Preference, Third Preference, and Fourth Preference. Irrespective of the name, one category is not necessarily “better” than the other. The four preferences are categorized as follows:

  • First Preference Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens that are over 21 years of age. This does not include children that were minors (under 21) at the time of filings but are now 21 or older because of the waiting period, which are protected under the Child Status Protection Act. At least 23,400 visas are reserved each year for this category.
  • Second Preference At least 114,200 visas are reserved each year for this category. Second Preference Subcategory (A) is reserved for spouses of U.S. permanent residents and takes up 77% of the available visas for this preference. Subcategory (B) is reserved for children of U.S. permanent residents that are under 21 and are unmarried and make up the remaining 23% of available visas for the second preference.
  • Third Preference Married children of U.S. citizens takes up 23,400 visas annually from the 226,000 numerical limits.
    Fourth Preference Brothers and Sisters of U.S. Citizens occupy the fourth preference and take up 65,000 visas from the 226,000 numerical limits.

Currently, due to the fact that the number of visas are limited, and there are usually more applications worldwide per year than the number allowed, there is a waiting period for every one of the four categories. Depending on the category, the waiting period for one category may be shorter than the other, and this number fluctuates every month. To estimate how long the alien must wait to obtain an immigrant visa based on an application filed by an alien relative, please check our updated monthly visa bulletin.

Please contact our office to see how we can assist you in obtaining either an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa. Also, please review our website to learn more about our Areas of Practice.

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Garg & Associates, PC | 21 Waterway Avenue, Suite 300 | The Woodlands, Texas 77380 Please call 281-362-2865 | Fax: 866-743-4506
Serving The Woodlands, Spring, Houston, Conroe, Kingwood, Tomball, Cypress, Huntsville, Cleveland, Stafford, Montgomery County, Harris County, West Oaks, Memorial, Sugar
Land, River Oaks, Alief, Stafford, Missouri City, and Southwest Houston Texas.