The U.S. offers a range of visas to enter the U.S. legally. If you have family members who are here in the U.S. legally they can submit a petition for a visa to allow you to join them. This is a Family-Based Immigrant Visa.

Even when the petition for this visa is approved you are not yet eligible to enter the U.S. Next you must wait for a visa. They are issued first-come, first served. Thousands of people apply each year for a limited number of visas, and there is virtually always a wait. You must watch for a Visa Bulletin. That is a notice that the U.S. State Department publishes each month with information about the visas that are available for family members to claim. You can find the Visa Bulletin here. That is how you will learn if one is available for you.

When your petition is approved you will receive an I-797 Notice of Action. Look on the notice your priority date – that is when you “got in line” for the visa. You petition was activated to obtain a family-based visa at some date in the future. You also need to know the type of family visa you applied for. That is based on the type of family relationship you have with your relatives in the U.S.

There are different types of family visas for different relationships. For example, there are more visas for minor children of adults in the U.S. than there are for adult children.

When you have your priority date and visa date you can check through the Visa Bulletin announcements to find your visa’s availability. Once your number comes up it means you have a visa to claim! You can plan your future in the U.S.

Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C. is an experienced team of immigration lawyers available to answer your questions about U.S. immigration laws. If you or a loved one is in deportation proceedings call us at (510) 756-4468 for a free evaluation.