Immigrant Visas

The Immigration and Nationality Act allows for the immigration of foreigners to the United States based on relationship to a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. The purpose of this is the reunification of family members in the United States. If the United States citizen does not plan to live in the United States, he/she cannot request a visa for other family members.

Family-based immigration falls under two basic categories: unlimited (immediate relatives of U.S. citizens) and limited (other relatives).

Unlimited Family-Based:

  • Spouse, widow (er), unmarried children under 21 and parents of a U.S. citizen who is 21 or older.
  • Men or women traveling to marry a U.S. citizen.

Limited Family-Based:

  • Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their minor children
    Spouses, minor children and unmarried sons and daughters(over age 21) of lawful permanent residents.
  • Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children.
    Brothers and sisters of United States citizens and their spouses and minor children provided the U.S. citizen is at least 21 years of age.

In all cases, the immigration process requires a petition, an I-130 application, to be filed on the immigrant’s behalf.

The I-130 Form, Is an essential document to establish the existence of a familial relationship between beneficiary and someone who is:

  • a US citizen (USC) or
  • a lawful permanent resident (LPR).

It is important to note that USC’s must be 21 years of age or older when filing for a parent or siblings LPR’s cannot file for their parents or siblings and may only file for their spouses.

A petitioner may file for:

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried children(under 21 years-old)
  • Siblings
  • Married son or daughter
  • Unmarried son or daughter(21 years-old or older)
  • Parents

The Process

  1.  Filing an I-130
  2. The I-130 is sent to a Lockbox facility for intake. The Lockbox facility does not adjudicate petitions, rather the Lockbox Office determines whether the petitions meet the acceptance criteria.
  3. Once accepted, USCIS routes the form I-130 to the appropriate field office or service center to be adjudicated.
  4. When the beneficiary is already in the United States, the petitioner may file an I-130 at the same time as a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This is known as a concurrent filing.
  5. When the beneficiary is outside of the United States, the file is transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing and the applicant and beneficiaries must file a DS260 and proceed according to instructions from the NVC.

If you are trying to bring relatives from your home country, please contact our office so that we can start working on your case today. Mercado & Rengel has successfully prepared numerous family-based petitions.