Immigration: Family Law Based Petitions
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
Family Law Based Visa Petitions
When you are attempting to help a relative to immigrate to the United States and become a resident, the first step in the process is filing an immigration visa petition on his or her behalf. Filing for a visa petition, however, can be very complex and time-consuming, and it should not be taken lightly. Filing incorrect paperwork can cause the loss of time, the loss of money, and can have severe consequences on the legal residency of your family.
Unfortunately, immigration visa petitions made on behalf of a family member can carry various repercussions and cause many to fear this process. This is a why a knowledgeable and experienced attorney can be a valuable resource to guide you and ease your nerves. An attorney with experience in immigration visa petitions will be able to discuss in-depth the procedure of the matter. He or she will be able to tell you if there are any difficulties or potential complications you should know about. Finally, a well-practiced attorney will be able to tell you if you are qualified to help your family member, or not.
Being a Qualified Sponsor: United States Citizen versus Permanent Resident
In order to sponsor a family member for an immigration visa, you need to have a few basic qualifications. The following is a basic break down of the differences between a United States citizen and a lawful permanent resident.
As a United States citizen, you have the opportunity to sponsor four different groups of relatives. These are:
- Husband or wife,
- Father and/or mother, and
- Brothers and/or sisters.
On the contrary, if you are a lawful permanent resident, you sponsor only the following groups:
- Husband or wife, and
- Unmarried children.
Once you have established which family residents you are able to sponsor, you can begin the visa petition process.
Filing a Visa Petition
- The first step in filing for an immigration visa petition is to prepare the application. This form is commonly known as the I-130 Form. When preparing the petition, you are required to provide evidence of the following:
- As the applicant, you must provide evidence of your current citizenship status.
- Your relationship with your family member.
- The country in which your family member will attend any required hearings with the immigration officials.
Be sure to have all of your documentation and other supportive papers properly certified. Some of these documents can be either your marriage certificate and/or all party’s birth certificates. In the event that any of the documents are in a foreign language, you should have them formally translated and properly certified.
While an I-130 form can include seemingly simple questions, you should not assume the answers. Speak to an expert attorney, because completing the form incorrectly can set you back in valuable time as well as financially.
- Once you have submitted the I-130 Form, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will establish a review of your submitted documentation. It is important to note that implications and roadblocks can arise at this point in the application process. If you are experiencing trouble, there is a high probability that you have submitted an incomplete application. An incomplete application usually refers to the notion that you did not submit enough supporting evidence in your application. If this is the case, consult with an experienced attorney. An experienced attorney will help guide you to determine if there are any problems and how to go about resolving them.
Other common issues can include:
- Illegible or messy applications;
- The absence of birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce certificates, or other similar government certified documents;
- Inconsistency in responses; and/or
- Not submitting the required filing fees.
In the event that you have had a rejected application, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services may return the application to you for your resubmittal. On occasion, they may also send you what is known as a Request for Evidence petition. When the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has sent you a Request for Evidence, they are generally identifying what documents you are missing from your application.
- Once the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has reviewed your visa petition and you, the petitioner, have met all of the requirements, the agency will issue a notice of approval. Unbeknownst to many, once the agency has given a notice of approval, this does not mean that your relative has been approved for a permanent residency. If you have been given a notice of approval by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, this merely means that the relationship between yourself and your relative has been confirmed.
The Next Step in the Application Process
Once you have filed an I-130 Petition Form, waiting for the notice of approval can take approximately 5 months. All applications have different processing times, however. This is because the investigation of evidential documents varies per application; therefore, each processing time will be determined on a case by case basis.
After you have successfully completed the I-130 Petition Form, your next step will be to apply for a permanent residency. The entire process can quickly become demanding and stressful. Consult a qualified attorney to help you through this process as efficiently as possible. Do not attempt to experiment in this matter. In these sensitive cases, it is vital that you file the application correctly the first time around. It is highly recommended that you speak with an expert attorney in order to provide your relative the best possible chance at a permanent residency.