In this article, you can learn about:
- What to expect when you apply for a family-based visa.
- What options you have if your family-based visa application is denied.
- How the courts handle the visa application appeals process.
The Process Of Obtaining A Family-Based Visa
To apply for a family-based visa, a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) must petition for their relative.
Therefore, the petitioner will apply for their relative (the beneficiary) by completing the form I-130 Petition for an Alien Relative. They will then submit this form to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Once the application is approved, the beneficiary can adjust their status by filing form I-485 with USCIS. Form I-485 is an application to become an LPR.
At the same time, the beneficiary can submit form I-765, which will allow the intended immigrant to work while their visa petition is pending.
The Common Reasons These Petitions Are Denied And What You Can Do If This Happens
Unfortunately, the USCIS denies a number of family-based visa applications every year.
These denials are commonly given to spousal applicants filing an I-130 petition. Why? Because the USCIS sometimes determines that the couple got married only to obtain the immigration benefit.
Fortunately, you can appeal a denial of your visa application. However, you will only have 20 days upon the receipt of your denial to file that appeal.
Another common reason for family-based visa denials is that the beneficiary is not eligible for a visa. In some cases, that person may not even be eligible for a waiver.
This is usually the case when the beneficiary has committed certain crimes or illegally left and re-entered the U.S. multiple times.
For these cases, someone can be banned from ever getting a visa in the U.S., though you can still appeal the USCIS’ decision.
The first step to appeal is filing a Motion to Reopen. If the Motion to Reopen is denied, you can appeal the case even further by bringing it before the Board of Immigration Appeals.
If the Board of Immigration Appeals denies your case, you would then appeal to the Circuit Court. For cases in my office, that is the Sixth Circuit of Appeals.
If the Sixth Circuit denies your appeal, you would then bring the case before the U.S. Supreme Court. However, the U.S. Supreme Court does not typically hear immigration cases, so this would be an incredibly rare situation.
I understand that receiving a visa denial can be an incredibly stressful and heartbreaking experience. My goal is to provide you with thoughtful and accurate legal advice so that you can find the best outcome possible for your family.
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