Your foreign relative wishes to immigrate to the United States and you’ve determined that s/he is eligible.

How Does My Foreign Relative Acquire an Immigrant Visa?

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) allows a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to petition the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for certain foreign relatives to come to the United States to live permanently. Learn more about the family sponsored preference categories. Once the petition is approved by the USCIS, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC).

The INA limits the number of family based immigrant visas that are issued each year based on a preference category. Each preference category is assigned a number of immigrant visas. In addition, there is a limit to the percentage of immigrant visas that can be allotted to each country in a year. Since the demand for immigrant visas is higher than the limited number and greater for some countries, an immigrant visa ‘waiting list’ forms. As such, your foreign relative’s preference category and country of origin will determine the time the relative petition will remain at the NVC until an immigrant visa number becomes available. The wait time can be years.

The NVC requires that your foreign relative complete an online immigrant visa application and file an affidavit of support along with required documentation. The NVC performs a background check on your foreign relative. Once the immigrant visa application, affidavit of support and documentation are received and the background check is complete and the results are satisfactory, the NVC forwards the petition and all other material to the United States consulate nearest your foreign relative’s foreign residence.

The United States consulate conducts an interview and issues the immigrant visa allowing your foreign relative to legally enter the United States to live permanently. Upon issuance of the immigrant) visa, your foreign relative must enter the United States within 6 months. After entry, your foreign relative and will be issued a permanent residence card allowing them to live permanently in the United States.

The immigrant visa process is complicated and time-consuming. We suggest the retention of an experienced immigration attorney well versed in the complexities of the process. The attorneys at CLG can efficiently guide you through each step of the process with the end goal of obtaining the immigrant visa as quickly as possible.

Additional Questions?

If you are unfamiliar with what is required, you may wish to take a moment to learn more about the immigrant visa process, to review the requirements for an immigrant visa , the associated visa fees and the timelines for the application process.