There are two different categories of United States visas—immigrant and nonimmigrant. Immigrant visas are for foreign nationals who wish to live permanently in the United States. Nonimmigrant visas are issued to foreign nationals who want to enter the United States on just a temporary basis.
An immigrant visa is a visa issued to a foreign national who plans to work and live permanently in the United States. Typically, an employer or a relative will sponsor the person seeking an immigrant visa by filing an application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Under certain circumstances, immigrants are able to petition on their own behalf. This includes applicants who have extraordinary abilities and immigrants in special cases. Your immigrant visa lawyer NYC will help you to understand whether your case meets these criteria.
There are two different forms that can be used to submit a petition for an immigrant visa. The first form is called a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. This form is used if you are currently a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident who is seeking to establish their relationship with an eligible relative who wishes to obtain a Permanent Resident Card.
The other form that is used for an immigrant visa is a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers. This form is used by employers to obtain an employment-based immigrant visa.
Filing Form I-130 Petitions—Exceptional Situations
In some cases, petitioners may be able to request to file at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in some special circumstances. These circumstances only apply if you are filing for an immediate relative, such as your spouse, an unmarried child under the age of 21, or your parent if you are 21 years of age or older.
Your immigrant visa lawyer NYC will help you understand whether these special circumstances may apply in your case. If your case does fall within this category, you will need to contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to request acceptance to file overseas. Each of these exception requests is evaluated on an individual basis. If the request is denied, then you must either file the petition online or by mail.
If you file a Form I-130, it is considered the first step in helping your eligible relative apply to obtain a green card and immigrate to the United States. Merely filing or obtaining approval of the petition does not provide your relative any immigration benefit or status just yet. There are more steps to take to further that process.
In most cases, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will approve your Form I-130 if you successfully establish a relationship between you and your relative that allows them to qualify to immigrate to the United States. After the petition is approved, the individual seeking to become a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident will then apply to become a lawful permanent resident. This is step two in the process.
An immigrant visa is always available if your relative is an immediate relative. If it is not an immediate relationship, then your relative may need to wait until a visa number becomes available.
You are able to submit your petition for an immigrant visa to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services either online or by submitting it through the mail. An immigrant visa lawyer NYC will be able to assist you in putting together your petition and ensuring that all necessary documentation and evidence has been included. Your petition must be approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services before your case is allowed to proceed to the National Visa Center.
After your sponsor submits your application or after you have submitted your application on your own behalf, if eligible to do so, it will be forwarded to the appropriate U.S. Consulate or overseas Embassy. From there, the application will continue to be processed, and ultimately, an immigrant visa will be issued if the immigrant is eligible to receive one.
If your application has been accepted and an immigrant visa is issued, you must then present your immigrant visa at a U.S. port-of-entry before the visa’s expiration date. As an intending immigrant, you will become a lawful permanent resident after the immigrant visa, and the necessary paperwork has been reviewed and endorsed by a Customs and Border Protection officer.
Once USCIS has approved your petition, your case will be transferred to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) to be pre-processed. You will receive a welcome letter either via e-mail or through the mail. That letter will contain information allowing you to log in to the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC).
When you log in to the CEAC, you can check for updates on your status. You can also receive messages and manage your case through this platform.
Next, you will need to pay your fees and submit the appropriate forms and supporting documents to the NVC. An immigrant visa lawyer NYC can help you understand what you will need to include and can assist you in this process. At this stage, your case will be reviewed to ensure that you have provided all of the required documentation in order to schedule your immigrant visa interview.
Yes. An Affidavit of Support, which is also called the Form I-864, is a document that an individual (called the sponsor) signs to confirm that they accept financial responsibility for the applicant who is coming to the United States to live. The petitioner is required to complete the Affidavit of Support; however, if their income is insufficient, a joint sponsor can also agree to complete a form on the applicant’s behalf.
It is important to know that the Affidavit of Support is legally enforceable. Typically, a sponsor will retain financial responsibility until the applicant either becomes a United States citizen or is credited for 40 qualifying quarters of work under the Social Security Act.
After the Affidavit of Support is submitted, certain financial documents must be collected, and the online visa application must be completed. You must also collect the necessary civil documents that are required to support your visa application.
The civil documents are required to be issued by the official issuing authority in your current country. There are different civil document requirements for each country. It can be helpful to have an experienced immigrant visa lawyer NYC help you to ensure that you have collected all of the required documents.
Any documents that were not written in English or in the official language of the country from which the applicant is applying are required to have certified translations accompanying them. The translation will also need to have a statement that is signed by the translator, confirming that the translator is competent to translate and that the translation is accurate. These documents will then need to be scanned and submitted for review.
The next stage is the interview process. Prior to the interview, you will first need to schedule a medical appointment with an authorized doctor in the country where you will have your interview. It must be with an embassy-approved physician. Additionally, each family member or derivative applicant that is applying for a visa with you will also need to have a medical appointment.
You will also need to register for courier service and complete any other pre-interview instructions that you are given. You will also need to gather all of the required documents for the interview and bring them with you when you attend.
The interview will consist of questioning by a consular officer who will interview you, along with any accompanying family member beneficiaries. The consular officer will decide whether or not you are eligible to receive your immigrant visa.
You are required to bring the following documents with you to your interview:
After the interview, you will learn whether you have been approved or rejected for your immigrant visa.
While there is no requirement that you must hire a lawyer, it can be enormously beneficial to you to hire an immigrant visa lawyer NYC. An attorney experienced in immigration law can help you to make sure that you are successfully completing each stage of the immigration visa application process.
Additionally, immigration laws may change during the course of the worldwide pandemic. An attorney will be able to help you navigate any changes in the law and help you understand how they may impact your case.
At Feiner & Lavy P.C., Attorneys at Law, we know how to help our clients deal with all different types of immigration-related needs, including helping our clients obtain immigrant visas. With over four decades of experience, our lawyers work tirelessly to help those seeking citizenship and permanent residency in the United States to achieve their goals. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and learn more about what we can do to help.
**This is general information and is NOT intended to provide legal advice.
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