Challenges In Family Immigration To The United States
In instances where a family wishing to immigrate to the United States lacks a close or immediate family member already present in the country, the process becomes extremely difficult. This situation typically necessitates employment-based immigration. As a result, the majority of cases where an entire family immigrates together are linked to an employment opportunity.
However, if a family member – either a resident or a citizen – is already present in the United States, the primary challenge becomes the waiting time. The process of having petitions approved, securing an appointment with the consulate, and conducting the interview is time-consuming. Therefore, the waiting period often poses the most significant obstacle for families.
The Pitfalls Of Navigating The Immigration Process Without Legal Assistance
While families and individuals can certainly attempt to navigate the immigration process independently, this often leads to frustration. This is largely due to the complex nature of the applications and the terminology used. Even though all forms come with instructions, these can be hard to comprehend.
Because of this, hiring an attorney to guide the process is highly recommended. It might require spending time to find a lawyer one is comfortable with and can afford, as the cost varies significantly among immigration practitioners. However, this investment not only ensures the correct completion of the application but also aids in understanding waiting periods, receiving updates, and building confidence in the process.
Understanding Family-Based Immigration
Family-based immigration involves one family member present in the United States petitioning for another. The petitioner and the beneficiary can be related in a number of ways: they could be spouses, parents and children, future spouses, or siblings. This broad category caters to various family relationships, making it a vital part of the immigration system.
Interaction With USCIS Or The Embassy Post Filing A Petition
After filing a petition, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sends a receipt notice typically within two to four weeks. There’s also an option to request an electronic notification, which usually arrives approximately a week before the paper receipt. This document is dispatched from the service center that holds your application or petition.
USCIS operates several service centers across the United States, including in states like Texas, Nebraska, and California. The receipt provides crucial information such as:
- Receipt number: This allows the individual to monitor the progress of their application online.
- Priority date: This marks the date of receipt of the application and serves as a crucial factor during embassy interviews if one needs to leave the United States.
- Basic biometric details: This includes the name of the petitioner or applicant, date of birth, country of birth, and the relationship on which the application is based.
The priority date further allows the individual to check their position in the visa bulletin, providing an estimate for when they would be eligible to receive a visa or a residency card.
Most Common Pathways For Legal Immigration By Families
In my practice, the most frequently encountered scenario for family immigration is when one spouse petitions for another. This holds true whether the spouse is already in the United States, resides in their home country, or is a future spouse. This is, by far, the most common method of applying for legal immigration among families.