You must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. Your achievements must be recognized in your field through extensive documentation. No offer of employment is required.

The E-2 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification. (For dependent family members, see “Family of E-2 Treaty Investors and Employees” below.)

See list of E2 Treaty Countries.

Many are those who want to work under an H1b visa, yet do not know which employer or company to pick to achieve this goal. This video gives some tips on how to choose the right employer to get an H1B visa.

In most adjustment of status cases, a medical check is required.  Not all physicians can actually perform this task.  Here is the link regarding a public list of designated civil surgeons is available online through the Civil Surgeon Locator

 

Treaty Countries

Country Classification Effective Date
Albania E-2 January 4, 1998
Argentina E-1 October 20, 1994
Argentina E-2 October 20, 1994
Armenia E-2 March 29, 1996
Australia E-1 December 16, 1991
Australia E-2 December 27, 1991
Austria E-1 May 27, 1931
Austria E-2 May 27, 1931
Azerbaijan E-2 August 2, 2001
Bahrain E-2 May 30, 2001
Bangladesh E-2 July 25, 1989
Belgium E-1 October 3, 1963
Belgium E-2 October 3, 1963
Bolivia E-1 November 09, 1862
Bolivia E-2 June 6, 2001
Bosnia and Herzegovina 11 E-1 November 15, 1882
Bosnia and Herzegovina 11 E-2 November 15, 1882
Brunei E-1 July 11, 1853
Bulgaria E-2 June 2, 1994
Cameroon E-2 April 6, 1989
Canada E-1 January 1, 1993
Canada E-2 January 1, 1993
Chile E-1 January 1, 2004
Chile E-2 January 1, 2004
China (Taiwan) 1 E-1 November 30, 1948
China (Taiwan) 1 E-2 November 30, 1948
Colombia E-1 June 10, 1848
Colombia E-2 June 10, 1848
Congo (Brazzaville) E-2 August 13, 1994
Congo (Kinshasa) E-2 July 28, 1989
Costa Rica E-1 May 26, 1852
Costa Rica E-2 May 26, 1852
Croatia 11 E-1 November 15, 1882
Croatia 11 E-2 November 15, 1882
Czech Republic 2 E-2 January 1, 1993
Denmark 3 E-1 July 30, 1961
Denmark E-2 December 10, 2008
Ecuador E-2 May 11, 1997
Egypt E-2 June 27, 1992
Estonia E-1 May 22, 1926
Estonia E-2 February 16, 1997
Ethiopia E-1 October 8, 1953
Ethiopia E-2 October 8, 1953
Finland E-1 August 10, 1934
Finland E-2 December 1, 1992
France 4 E-1 December 21, 1960
France 4 E-2 December 21, 1960
Georgia E-2 August 17, 1997
Germany E-1 July 14, 1956
Germany E-2 July 14, 1956
Greece E-1 October 13, 1954
Grenada E-2 March 3, 1989
Honduras E-1 July 19, 1928
Honduras E-2 July 19, 1928
Iran E-1 June 16, 1957
Iran E-2 June 16, 1957
Ireland E-1 September 14, 1950
Ireland E-2 November 18, 1992
Israel E-1 April 3, 1954
Italy E-1 July 26, 1949
Italy E-2 July 26, 1949
Jamaica E-2 March 7, 1997
Japan 5 E-1 October 30, 1953
Japan 5 E-2 October 30, 1953
Jordan E-1 December 17, 2001
Jordan E-2 December 17, 2001
Kazakhstan E-2 January 12, 1994
Korea (South) E-1 November 7, 1957
Korea (South) E-2 November 7, 1957
Kosovo 11 E-1 November 15, 1882
Kosovo 11 E-2 November 15, 1882
Kyrgyzstan E-2 January 12, 1994
Latvia E-1 July 25, 1928
Latvia E-2 December 26, 1996
Liberia E-1 November 21, 1939
Liberia E-2 November 21, 1939
Lithuania E-2 November 22, 2001
Luxembourg E-1 March 28, 1963
Luxembourg E-2 March 28, 1963
Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of (FRY) E-1 November 15, 1882
Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of (FRY) E-2 November 15, 1882
Mexico E-1 January 1, 1994
Mexico E-2 January 1, 1994
Moldova E-2 November 25, 1994
Mongolia E-2 January 1, 1997
Montenegro 11 E-1 November 15, 1882
Montenegro 11 E-2 November 15, 1882
Morocco E-2 May 29, 1991
Netherlands 6 E-1 December 5, 1957
Netherlands 6 E-2 December 5, 1957
Norway 7 E-1 January 18, 1928
Norway 7 E-2 January 18, 1928
Oman E-1 June 11, 1960
Oman E-2 June 11, 1960
Pakistan E-1 February 12, 1961
Pakistan E-2 February 12, 1961
Panama E-2 May 30, 1991
Paraguay E-1 March 07, 1860
Paraguay E-2 March 07, 1860
Philippines E-1 September 6, 1955
Philippines E-2 September 6, 1955
Poland E-1 August 6, 1994
Poland E-2 August 6, 1994
Romania E-2 January 15, 1994
Serbia 11 E-1 November 15,1882
Serbia 11 E-2 November 15,1882
Senegal E-2 October 25, 1990
Singapore E-1 January 1, 2004
Singapore E-2 January 1, 2004
Slovak Republic 2 E-2 January 1, 1993
Slovenia 11 E-1 November 15, 1882
Slovenia 11 E-2 November 15, 1882
Spain 8 E-1 April 14, 1903
Spain 8 E-2 April 14, 1903
Sri Lanka E-2 May 1, 1993
Suriname 9 E-1 February 10, 1963
Suriname 9 E-2 February 10, 1963
Sweden E-1 February 20, 1992
Sweden E-2 February 20, 1992
Switzerland E-1 November 08, 1855
Switzerland E-2 November 08, 1855
Thailand E-1 June 8, 1968
Thailand E-2 June 8, 1968
Togo E-1 February 5, 1967
Togo E-2 February 5, 1967
Trinidad & Tobago E-2 December 26, 1996
Tunisia E-2 February 7, 1993
Turkey E-1 February 15, 1933
Turkey E-2 May 18, 1990
Ukraine E-2 November 16, 1996
United Kingdom 10 E-1 July 03, 1815
United Kingdom 10 E-2 July 03, 1815
Yugoslavia 11 E-1 November 15, 1882
Yugoslavia 11 E-2 November 15, 1882

Country Specific Footnotes

  1. China (Taiwan) – Pursuant to Section 6 of the Taiwan Relations Act, (TRA) Public Law 96-8, 93 Stat, 14, and Executive Order 12143, 44 F.R. 37191, this agreement which was concluded with the Taiwan authorities prior to January 01, 1979, is administered on a nongovernmental basis by the American Institute in Taiwan, a nonprofit District of Columbia corporation, and constitutes neither recognition of the Taiwan authorities nor the continuation of any official relationship with Taiwan.
  2. Czech Repubilc and Slovak Republic – The Treaty with the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic entered into force on December 19, 1992; entered into force for the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic as separate states on January 01, 1993.
  3. Denmark – The Treaty which entered into force on July 30, 1961, does not apply to Greenland.
  4. France – The Treaty which entered into force on December 21, 1960, applies to the departments of Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Reunion.
  5. Japan – The Treaty which entered into force on October 30, 1953, was made applicable to the Bonin Islands on June 26, 1968, and to the Ryukyu Islands on May 15, 1972.
  6. Netherlands – The Treaty which entered into force on December 05, 1957, is applicable to Aruba and Netherlands Antilles.
  7. Norway – The Treaty which entered into force on September 13, 1932, does not apply to Svalbard (Spitzbergen and certain lesser islands).
  8. Spain – The Treaty which entered into force on April 14, 1903, is applicable to all territories.
  9. Suriname – The Treaty with the Netherlands which entered into force December 05, 1957, was made applicable to Suriname on February 10, 1963.
  10. United Kingdom – The Convention which entered into force on July 03, 1815, applies only to British territory in Europe (the British Isles (except the Republic of Ireland), the Channel Islands and Gibraltar) and to “inhabitants” of such territory. This term, as used in the Convention, means “one who resides actually and permanently in a given place, and has his domicile there.” Also, in order to qualify for treaty trader or treaty investor status under this treaty, the alien must be a national of the United Kingdom. Individuals having the nationality of members of the Commonwealth other than the United Kingdom do not qualify for treaty trader or treaty investor status under this treaty.
  11. Yugoslavia – The U.S. view is that the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) has dissolved and that the successors that formerly made up the SFRY – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Slovenia, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia continue to be bound by the treaty in force with the SFRY and the time of dissolution.

The 100 civics (history and government) questions and answers for the naturalization test are listed below. The civics test is an oral test and the USCIS Officer will ask the applicant up to 10 of the 100 civics questions.
An applicant must answer 6 out of 10 questions correctly to pass the civics portion of the naturalization test.
On the naturalization test, some answers may change because of elections or appointments.

As you study for the test, make sure that you know the most current answers to these questions.
Answer these questions with the name of the official who is serving at the time of your eligibility interview with USCIS. The USCIS Officer will not accept an incorrect answer.

Although USCIS is aware that there may be additional correct answers to the 100 civics questions, applicants are
encouraged to respond to the civics questions using the answers provided below.

100 US Citizenship Sample Questions

A slide show how to apply H4 EAD

K3 Visa ten important facts

A US citizen, who marries a non-US citizen outside the country, can actually use a K3 to bring their spouse to the US although it is not necessary. One can actually opt just to use the Form I-130 and avoid the K3 together. In fact, it is important to weigh whether it is a good idea to use a K3 visa. Also called a spouse visa, a K3 Visa is a nonimmigrant Visa under which you can bring your spouse and even children to the US. Children need a K4 Visas, which is issued once the spouse is issued a K3 Visa.

Eligibility for a K3 Visa

  • In order to be eligible for a K3 visa, you must be married to a U.S. citizen

  • If you spouse (who is not a US citizen and needs a K3 visa) is already in the United States, then the marriage has to be done in the US. For the application process, the spouse has to go back to their native country.

  • You must have a pending Form I-130

  • Have a petition for ‘Alien Relative’, filed by a spouse who is a U.S. citizen on your behalf

Important facts about the K3 Visa –

  1. One of the major advantages of the K3 Visa is that it allows the spouse to work while waiting for the immigration formalities to be over.

  1. The petition for the K3visa must be filed with USCIS; they are also eligible to apply for a green card.

  2. The time taken to process the K3 visa is much shorter as compared to other marriage-based petitions (not always true), making the time the couple spends away from each other much shorter.

  1. The applicant for a K3 visa is given a receipt of the I-130 that allows their spouse temporary residence in the United States, even as they wait for a green card. Unmarried minors, dependent on the spouse can also be brought along; they can apply for citizenship later on and can pursue education in the States.

  1. A successful applicant gets an initial period of 2 years after which they can apply for a renewal of their stay. Application for renewal must be done within 120 days before the expiry.

  2. The couple must still be married at the time of application, in case of divorce during this period; their status is automatically terminated within 30 days of the divorce.

  1. While you are applying for the K3 visa be prepared to show authentic documents proving that your sponsor is a US Citizen. You will also need valid copies of your marriage certificate.

  1. In case the applicant or the immigrant has been married before they need to show, sufficient proof of termination of the previous marriage, which can be in the form of either divorce papers or death certificates.

  1. Documents that are needed are valid passport copies, copies of birth certificate and a copy of recent medical examination.

  1. The process of receiving a K3 visa varies from a few months to a year depending on different cases.

Obtaining a K3 visa, in spite of all its advantages has a numerous processes that are involved. Because of all the details that are required, and the chances of errors, which could lead to denials, it is recommended that you seek legal counsel in such cases. An experienced immigration attorney will be able to not only guide you but do your paperwork too.

In this regard, you might want to consult the Shah Peerally Law Group and fix an appointment or take dates for consultation. Immigration lawyer Shah Peerally will be able to handle all your K3 Visa related problems. You could email – info@peerallylaw.com or call at 510-742-5887.

A K1Visa- why is it useful and how?

A K1 visa, which is also popularly known as the fiancé visa, has been designed by the government in order to help someone working in the United States to marry and live with their loved ones in the US. The visa is a great way; a foreigner can marry a citizen of the United States, and stay on in the country and go on to obtain a green card too.

In order to be eligible for a K1visa, the sponsor and their fiancé must have met in person within the past two years.

Not understanding the advantages of the k1visa

Many people make the mistake of entering the U.S. as a tourist, even when their intent is to marry their fiancé who has a US citizenship. Often this is done without disclosing to the USCIS of your intentions of marrying your fiancée. What these people don’t realize is that this amounts to committing a visa fraud, because the Department of State (“DOS”) and the USCIS consider the intent to marry a U.S. citizen as equivalent to the intention to immigrate to the US, without adequate information to the authorities. This could even have serious repercussions as

Being deported making it impossible for the said person to ever enter the country again, in spite of your marriage, which would have repercussions on your private life. All this could be easily avoided by making use of the K1 visa to marry your fiancée and migrate to the US.

Moreover the K1 visa has a shorter processing time when compared to other similar permits. The other benefits of this visa are also much more.

Information about the processing of the K1 visa-

  • In order to obtain a K1 visa, the American citizen must sponsor the immigrant to come to the United States. The sponsor must file a petition for the Alien Fiancé with the USCIS. It is the duty of the sponsor to make sure that all the information provided is correct and authentic.

  • The petition for the K1 visa, to the Immigration Services must include adequate and detailed information about both the sponsor and the immigrant. The information should have proof of the fact that both are not married, previous relationship and a lack of lack of criminal record.

  • Once the K1Visa petition is approved by the USCIS, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). Here it is will assigned a number which acts as an identification number for the petition. This is then forwarded to the U.S. Embassy where the K-1 nonimmigrant visa has been applied for.

  • Once the application is approved, the immigrant has to undergo a complete medical examination in their native country. This is then followed by an interview in the US Embassy. The immigrant will be asked questions about the couple’s relationship, and other documentation including correspondence, photos, etc would be scanned for authenticity. If the application is cleared, he/she can travel to the US with immediate effect.

  • There is a strict timeframe within which an approved K1Visa petitioner must move to the US. The move must be completed within a period of six months after which the K1 visa would expire. Once the immigrant moves to the US, the couple should get married within 90 days. The presence of children in such cases is not a deterrent; they would be issued K2 visas.

  • Once the couple is married, the immigrant can file an “adjustment of status,” which changes the K1 visa to a conditional permanent resident. The immigrant is then granted a temporary green card.

  • After marriage and issuing of temporary green card, there are more interviews to be faced as a couple in which more personal questions will be asked in order to ascertain the relationship is actually genuine. In case of doubts about legitimacy of the marriage or the relationship, the immigrant may lose his permanent resident status, and return to their native country.

  • But if the couple clears the interviews, the process of K1visa is now complete and the immigrant is certified as a legitimate spouse, with a work permit too. Also after three years of obtaining the temporary green card, the applicant is eligible for a US citizenship. The total processing of a K1visa applicant into a US citizen might take about 5 to 6 years on an average.

Because the K1visa is sometimes a complicated process and people don’t often understand the filing of the required documents or how to actually present their case, some applicants may have been turned down. It would be thus wise to consult a lawyer, well versed in the process of immigration and who can guide you along the processing of a K1visa. For this you might consider setting up an appointment with the experienced immigration lawyers of the Shah Peerally Law Group . You could email – info@peerallylaw.com or call at 510-742-5887.

National Visa Center and its role in immigration

A lot of people appeal to the government of the United States for Immigrant visas. Once the petition for the Visa has been approved by the USCIS it is then forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). It is this center that sends further instructions to the candidates on what action needs to be taken.

The National Visa Center has had a history associated with the US immigration. This institution, meant to help in immigration activities, came into force in 1994, when the State Department established the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The privately operated National Visa Center processes the approved immigrant visa petitions and keeps them until till further steps are taken for the process to be complete.

Once your immigration petition is received by the National Visa Center they will ask you to produce request relevant documents and the visa processing fees before the person for whom you have petitioned is called to the American embassy in their country for the scheduled visa interview. Once the fees is paid and the documents have been received and checked, the National Visa Center transfers the entire file to the American Embassy in the country where the visa interview will take place.

The National Visa Center creates a case number for every petition that it receives and also provides an ‘Affidavit of Support Processing’ and an ‘Applicant Document Processing’. You must remember that the instructions of the National Visa Center must be followed very carefully. If you sending wrong documentation or fees when it is not required, it will only lead to further delays in the processing.

Depending on which visa category you have applied for and the native country of the applicant, the petition remains at the National Visa Center. When the applicant’s petition is about to become current the petition is forwarded to the appropriate U.S. embassy or in the case of applicant adjusting status in the U.S. it is forwarded to the appropriate INS office. Since the National Visa Center gets a lot of queries regarding the visa status queries, they have a customer service feedback day when the public can talk to operators about the information they provide.

Apart from immigrant visa cases, the National Visa Center also caters to the processing of K1 and K3 visas for consular interviews after the petition has been approved by the USCIS.

Apart from general enquiries regarding the movement of your petition you must notify the National Visa Center in case of

  • Change of marital status

  • Address change

  • Addition children being added to the family

  • Change or removal of your attorney

  • Death of the petitioner

Once the priority date is current, in case of emergency cases like life and death cases, the National Visa Center makes concessions in hurrying up its processing.

An I-601 Waiver is a mechanism by which an applicant for U.S. visa who has been denied admission on a “ground of inadmissibility” can “waive” the ground of inadmissibility by proving certain conditions that are can ultimately lead to an US visa.

What is a “Ground of Inadmissibility”?

There are different grounds of inadmissibility; under which a visa may be denied. The I-601 applies to some of these conditions. Waivers can be used, in these grounds of inadmissibility-

  • Illegal presence in the U.S.

  • Misrepresentation or fraud

  • Applicant has a criminal history.

Waivers cannot, be used in cases where-

  • There are charges of drug trafficking

  • Applicant has made false claims to U.S. citizenship

What is necessary for a Waiver to be Granted?

While applying for an I-601 Waiver make sure-

  • A qualifying relative in the U.S. who will suffer “extreme hardship” if you cannot join him/her.

  • That the USCIS officer adjudicating the I-601 views your application in a positive frame of mind.

How can an Attorney’s help you in filing an I-601 Waivers?

The entire I-601 Waiver petition process can be difficult and lengthy one. A qualified immigration attorney can assess whether an I-601 waiver will be suitable for your case. The attorney will suggest what kind of documentation is necessary to support eligibility for a waiver of inadmissibility. And present your case well. The decision to hire an expert attorney in such a case of I-601 Waiver can make or break your case.

For this you can contact the Shah Peerally Law Firm and discuss the I-601 visa waivers with experienced immigration lawyers. Feel free to contact by email at info@peerallylaw.com or call at 510-742-5887.

Naturalization and Who Qualifies?

Naturalization is a process that changes a person’s immigrant status to that of a US Citizen. For Naturalization you need-

  1. A green card for 57 months (33 months if the green card was obtained through marriage to a US Citizen),

  2. Know the English language well

  3. Be familiar with US Civics and History

  4. Have a good moral character.

Citizenship through Naturalization

An application for naturalization can be done after 4 years and 9 months from the date that you received your green card, or 2 years and 9 months (33 months) if you received your green card through marriage to a US Citizen or VAWA. You have to be physically present in the US for 30 months or 18 months if you received your green card through marriage without breaking continuity of residence in the US, unless you can prove later that continuity was not broken.

Interpretations of the rules for Naturalization

Those above 50 and with a green card for 15-20 years have concessions in the English language test. Disability exemptions are applicable for all tests.

65, year olds, with a green card for 20 years, need only a simplified civics and history test.

Good moral character, being subjective, is often decided by the reviewing officer. Community service, arrests, convictions, drunkenness, etc are taken into consideration.

Benefits and Limitations of Applying for Naturalization

  • Naturalization can lead to US Citizenship.

  • A US Citizen has plenty of benefits

  • You are eligible to vote and apply for government jobs.

  • Fraud in case of Naturalization can revoke the citizenship.

Attorney’s role in Naturalization

Many people feel uncomfortable facing a USCIS officer alone. Some, applicants don’t know which document they should present and how to present their case especially if there are complications like previous arrests, breaks in continuity of stay in the US, etc. For all this an immigration lawyer with experience is highly recommended.

Contact the Shah Peerally Law Group to discuss your Naturalization process. Contact through email at info@peerallylaw.com or call at 510-742-5887.

 

What is employment based immigration?

The US government issues 140,000 employment based immigrant visa every year, which are based on employment; these are called the (EB) visas. There is a limitation to the visas on a per-country basis too. The problem with these visas is that due to the number of people who want to work in the US resulting from an open economy, the EB visa category often takes a long time and has a list of backlogs.

Employment based immigrant visas is divided into five different preference categories. The best part of some of these categories is that it allows spouses and children also to accompany the immigrant seeking a visa.

  • The EB1 category is for priority workers, comprising, brilliant researchers, managers of extraordinary ability and multinational executives

  • The EB2 category is for people with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities in their field of work.

  • The EB3 category is for skilled workers and exceptional professionals

  • The EB4 category is for special immigrants

  • The EB5 category is for investors, or people who can create employment opportunities.

The EB-2 category is current except for those aliens from India or China.

In order to be considered for an employment based immigrant visa under one of the said employment-based categories, the applicant’s prospective employer needs to obtain a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. After this, the employer can file an Immigrant Petition for the alien Worker, Form I-140, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the specific category under which the employee would fall.

Once the petition for the employment based immigrant visa is approved by the USCIS, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). Here it is assigned a case number. The NVC starts pre-processing the applicant’s case issues instructions to the applicant to submit the required fees. Once the fees is paid, the NVC request’s that the applicant to submit all the required immigrant visa documents. This is a must and needs very careful documentation otherwise the visa application could be rejected. The required documents include application forms, civil documents, and more.

The wait for an employment based immigrant visa case often takes more time because of the limited number of visas issued annually. The time taken to process each petition for a employment based immigrant visa varies from case to case. In many cases the process is delayed because applicants have not followed the instructions carefully or well documented their papers as specified.

Family based immigration

There are two kinds of family based immigrant visa categories that a person can apply for. This includes the immediate relatives and the family preference categories that are provided under the provisions of US immigration law.

Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas, is unlimited and as the name suggests is for the close family of a US citizen and as described by the Immediate Relative (IR) of Immigration law. The immediate relative category, family based immigrant visa type includes the following-

IR-1- Spouse of the U.S. Citizen

IR-2- Unmarried children of the US citizen under the age group of 21 Years

IR-3- An orphan, who has been adopted by a U.S. Citizen who is outside the country

IR-4- An orphan about to be adopted by a US citizen, within the country

IR-5- The parent of a U.S. Citizen beyond the age of 21

The family Preference Immigrant Visas is a limited category. These types of family based immigrant visas are for slightly more distant family relationships of a U.S. citizen. There are some specified relationships in this category too, under the US government specifications with a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). There are limitations on the number of family preference immigrants that can be admitted in each category. The family based immigrant in the family preference categories are-

Family First Preference (F1) – The unmarried children of U.S. citizens, and their minor children (23,400)

Family Second Preference (F2)- The spouse, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters above the age 21 of lawful permanent residents. Seventy-seven percent of the visas in this category go to the spouses and children; the rest of it is allocated to the unmarried children.

Family Third Preference (F3)- The married children of U.S. citizens and their spouses as well as minor children.

Family Fourth Preference (F4)- The siblings of U.S. citizen, and their spouses and minor children, this is applicable provided the U.S. citizen is at least 21 years of age.

The family preference category of family based immigrant visa is issued in a chronological order in which the petitions have been filed, till the number of petitions allowed for this category, have been reached. Subsequently, the filing date of a petition becomes the applicant’s priority date. The Immigrant visa cannot be issued until the applicant’s priority date has been reached. The matter of issuing family based immigrant in the family preference may take several years before the priority date is arrived at.

The first step in obtaining a family based immigrant visa needs a sponsoring relative to file a petition on behalf of the relative. A Form I-130 with the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is to be filed for this. Only in special circumstances, a U.S. citizen living outside the country can file an immigrant visa petition outside the country.

The U.S. citizens filing a petition for their siblings or parents must be above the age of must be age 21. There is no minimum age for a sponsor to file petitions for all other categories of family based immigrant visas. A U.S. citizen should be at least 18 years of age and have a residence (domicile) in the U.S. before they can sign an affidavit of support, Form I-864 or I-864-EZ. It is necessary to sign this form for an immigrant visa for a spouse or any other relatives of the U.S. citizen.

In order to sponsor a family member, the US citizen must have the following –

  • Be a US Citizen or a Permanent Resident of the US and have documentation to prove the same.

  • A qualifying relationship with the immigrant as specified by the rules.

  • Be willing to sponsor the immigrant by filing the family immigration form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative)

  • Has to prove that they will be able to support the immigrant and any other sponsored family members financially.

If the applicant is inside US during the family immigration process, they may qualify to adjust status to Permanent Resident without returning to their home country.