Connecticut Family Visas Attorney
Immigration Lawyers Helping Your Family in Waterbury, Danbury & Norwalk – Call (203) 753-7300
The Law Offices of James A. Welcome is a top-rated immigration law firm. We are fully invested in ensuring your family receives the utmost service and support during the immigration process. Our family visa lawyers in Waterbury, Norwalk and Danbury place your family’s needs first.
Why Choose the Law Offices of James A. Welcome?
- Personalized counsel and experienced representation
- Affordable service with professional guidance
- We can protect your rights both in and out of the courtroom
- All calls are answered and messages are returned promptly
- You will receive consistent updates on the status of your case
- Our friendly staff is always available to greet you. ¡Se habla español! Nós falamos Portugues!
Which Family Visa Applies to My Situation?
Family-based immigration visas allow immigrants to become permanent residents of the United States through a family member who is already lawfully residing in the country. The process begins when a family member files an immigration petition on your behalf; from then on, this person will be referred to as your “sponsor.” In order to ensure that your sponsor meets the age and relationship requirements for fulfilling this role, contact a Connecticut family visas attorney at the Law Offices of James A. Welcome.
Unlimited Family Visas
Visas for immediate relatives, or those with a close family relationship, are Unlimited Family Visas. There is not a cap on the number of immigrants in these categories each fiscal year. They include:
- Visas for spouses (IR-1)
- Visas for unmarried children under the age of 21 (IR-2)
- Visas for orphans who are adopted abroad (IR-3)
- Visas for orphans who are adopted in the United States (IR-4)
- Visas for the parents of U.S. citizens (IR-5)
The family visa you choose in this category will depend on the relationship between the U.S. citizen who is acting as the sponsor and the immigrant.
Family Preference Visas
Family-based visas are also given out based on family preference, essentially providing visas only to immigrants who are specific relatives of lawful permanent residents of the U.S or of U.S. citizens.
These visas are referred to as LPR (lawful permanent resident) visas, and the number of these visas issued each year is limited.
- First Preference Visas (F-1): Visas for unmarried sons and daughters. These visas are limited to 23,400.
- Second Preference Visas (F-2): Visas for spouses, unmarried children, and minor children. These visas are limited to 114,200.
- Third Preference Visas (F-3): Visas for married sons and daughters. These visas are limited to 23,400.
- Fourth Preference Visas (F-4): Visas for siblings and the spouses and minor children of these siblings. These visas are limited to 65,000.
How Do You Apply for a Family Visa?
If you wish to apply for a family visa in Connecticut, there are steps you must take to initiate the legal process. These processes can be confusing and may require help from an attorney. An experienced immigration attorney will have the knowledge and resources to complete the family visa petition correctly the very first time on your behalf, as well as to walk you and your family through the processes ahead. There are four main steps for applying for a family visa.
File the Petition
The U.S. citizen or permanent resident who plans on sponsoring the immigrant must file a visa petition. The lawful permanent resident family member must fill out Form I-130 and mail it to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), along with supporting documents or evidence. These documents must prove that the family relationship claimed is real. They can include evidence of financial sustainability, proof of relationship and proof of citizenship.
USCIS decides to accept or reject the visa petition. The USCIS will review the petition and supporting documents to determine the validity of the application. If the USCIS approves the request, it will forward the petition to the National Visa Center for processing. Otherwise, the petitioner may file a new petition after the rejection by making any necessary changes on the original document and resubmitting it.
Family Preference relatives wait for a visa to become available. If you filed your family visa in the Family Preference group, you are not eligible for immediate permanent residence after the USCIS approves your petition. Instead, due to the annual cap on the number of green cards available, you must join a waiting list.
Visa or Green Card Application
The immigrant applies for an immigrant visa or green card. If the USCIS has approved the petition and a visa is available, the final step is to submit an application for permanent residence. You can do this by applying for a visa at a U.S. consulate in your home country. Then, once you immigrate to the United States, you can apply for your green card. Both of these processes can take additional paperwork and may require help from an attorney.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Family-based immigration may seem relatively straightforward, but constantly evolving immigration laws and obstacles along the way can make obtaining a family visa more difficult than it needs to be.
Obtaining legal help from a Connecticut family visas lawyer can help you avoid making mistakes and risking having your petition rejected. Although you can reapply, a rejection can slow down the process and force you to wait longer for your visa. Partnering with an attorney from the very beginning can help you properly prepare your family sponsorship petition.
How Long Is the Wait for a Family Visa?
This answer depends on the circumstances of the case. An Unlimited Family Visa typically results in residency faster, as the immigrant does not have to contend with the waiting list for a green card. A Family Preference visa, on the other hand, typically takes at least a year for the immigrant to learn if a visa is available. However, the timeline can vary considerably on a case-by-case basis. One of the determining factors is the preference type of the family visa:
- Immediate relatives: first priority
- F-1 category: 1 to 5 years
- F-2 category: 1 year for spouses and minor children, 3 to 4 years for adult children
- F-3 category: 9 years, on average
- F-4 category: 7 to 10 years, on average
Compared to other immigration options, family reunification through a family-based visa takes a relatively short amount of time. The process can take around one to five years from beginning to end. Some may take longer than this if there are challenges. Others may move faster. Working with an attorney from the very beginning of the visa process can expedite things as much as possible.
Possible Issues You Could Encounter With Your Family Visa
One of the many benefits of applying for a family visa is a reduced risk of the USCIS rejecting your petition compared to other immigration processes. Having blood relatives or immediate family members already lawfully in the United States—and the sponsor accepting responsibility for the immigrant’s visit—increases the chances of the USCIS accepting the petition and granting the family visa.
Unfortunately, certain issues and challenges can arise during the legal process that slow down the timeline or lead to the rejection of the petition. A lawyer can help you avoid and navigate these issues, such as:
- Missing information on the original petition
- Incorrectly filed petition
- More proof required
- The applicant is living in the U.S. illegally
- Criminal conviction for the petitioner or the immigrant
- Processing delays
- Issue of quota
- Application denial
If an application is denied, you must wait at least six months before attempting to reapply. Securing a family visa is already a long enough process without having to wait additional months to reapply after a mistake. This is why it is critical to work with an attorney from the very beginning of your case; an attorney can help you avoid common errors and overcome obstacles as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Family Visa FAQs
- Q: Can you initiate the family visa process while abroad?
A: In general, no; you must be on U.S. territory to start the family visa process. There are exceptions to the rule, however, where an American citizen can file a petition from abroad.
- Q: What are the main reasons for family visa denials?
A: Mistakes on the paperwork, using the wrong form, inaccurate or inconsistent information, lack of evidential documents, and breaking the rules or instructions are the most common causes of denials.
- Q: Who has the best chance of getting a family visa?
A: Immediate relatives of a lawful permanent U.S. resident have the best chance of getting a green card through a family visa. These are top-priority petitioners that do not operate under a quota. The U.S. government defines immediate relatives as parents, spouses and unmarried minor children.
Contact Our Family Visa Attorneys Today
For help filing your petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), contact us at the Law Offices of James A. Welcome. Our legal team is multilingual: We speak English, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, & Cantonese fluently.
If you have questions about the possible family law visas that may be available to you and your family, you can speak to a lawyer at our Waterbury immigration office: (203) 753-7300.
We also serve New Haven County and all of Connecticut, including Danbury and Norwalk.