Many people seeking opportunities to improve their life opt to immigrate to the United States. Unfortunately, the immigration process can be daunting. If you have family members that want to reside in the United States, it's important that you understand the immigration options available to them so they don't become one of the 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants living in the country.
Here are three things you can do to ensure that your family members will be able to gain legal access to the United States in the future.
1. Gain an understanding of visa quotas that might apply to your family members.
In order to limit the size of the nation's population, the government limits the number of foreign visas that are issued each year. When filing a family petition to help your loved one gain entry into the United States, you must determine if you will be filing for an immediate relative visa or a family preference visa.
Immediate relatives (which include spouses, children under the age of 21, and parents of U.S. citizens) are not subject to visa limitations, and they don't have to wait in line for a visa approval. If you are filing a family preference petition, your loved one will have to wait until one of the allotted visas becomes available before entering the United States.
2. Be sure to determine if your relative is admissible before filing a family petition.
To protect current citizens, the United States government places certain restrictions on immigrants entering the country. Before you file a family petition to try and help your loved one immigrate to the U.S. it's important that you determine if he or she is admissible.
Some conditions that could exclude an individual from entry include communicable diseases, a history of drug abuse, or a criminal record. Working with an attorney to determine if your loved one can get a waiver of inadmissibility can be beneficial if you suspect that he or she may not qualify for entry.
3. Work with an immigration attorney to ensure you file the correct documents.
The family petition process can be tedious and overwhelming for someone with a limited legal background. Hiring an experienced immigration attorney to help you prepare the necessary applications and supporting documentation will reduce the likelihood that your family petition will be denied.
The typical fee for a family-based petition is between $500 and $1,500, but a family petition case that is delayed or denied due to improper filing could cost you even more.
Helping a loved one immigrate to the United States through the filing of a family petition is a complex process. Be sure that you take the time to understand how a family petition works, and partner with a reputable attorney to avoid any delays in the approval of your loved one's application. Contact a lawyer, such as Tesoroni & Leroy, for more information.