The United States offers a pathway for family members of citizens and lawful permanent residents to gain green cards and eventually citizenship. Only specific individuals will be able to qualify for this type of visa.
Even if you qualify under one of the specified categories, the process can be a challenge to navigate. Speak to a skilled visa attorney about family preference visas in Marietta to learn more about the steps you need to take in order to continue your immigration journey.
Who Qualifies for a Family Preference Visa?
Family preference visas offer the ability to become a lawful permanent resident, otherwise known as obtaining a green card. There are preference categories for this type of visa because the United States only offers a limited number of these each year. The following categories indicate which family members fall into the preferential category according to the law:
- The unmarried children, 21 years or older, of citizens of the United States
- The spouses and unmarried children, under 21 years of age, of lawful permanent residents
- The unmarried children, 21 and over, of lawful permanent residents
- The married children of United States citizens
- The siblings of United States citizens if the citizen is 21 or older
The United States also offers immediate family member visas to spouses, children under 21, and parents of United States citizens. However, family preference visas can take longer to acquire because the State Department limits the number of these that are available and does not limit the number of immediate family member visas each year. It is essential to understand the specifics of applying for a family preference visa in Marietta.
The Path to Citizenship
Family preference visas lead to legal permanent residence status. Acquiring this status, commonly known as the green card, will eventually lead to the ability to apply for United States citizenship.
If an individual has a green card, they must wait five years to apply for citizenship. However, if the visa holder marries a United States citizen, the wait time to apply for citizenship is only three years. Even before becoming a citizen, a family preference visa will allow a person the ability to live and work in Marietta.
Revoking a Family Preference Visa
Individuals who successfully apply for a family preference visa will become legal permanent residents of the United States. While the visa offers the individual the ability to remain in the country, there are exceptions. For example, visa holders can lose their green cards for committing certain crimes.
If an individual with a visa violates the law, the government has the ability to deport that person. Deportation is no longer a risk once a person becomes a citizen, even in the case of criminal conduct. Anyone who obtains a family preference visa should remember that they will need to comply with the law, and that even relatively minor offenses can complicate their ability to stay in the country or apply for citizenship.
Speak to an Attorney About Obtaining a Family Preference Visa in Marietta
Family preference visas are one way to become a legal permanent resident of the United States. Acquiring these visas will mean working through a complicated legal process. If you are applying for a family preference visa in Marietta, you may benefit from consulting with an experienced attorney. Your lawyer could help you navigate the process and understand the steps you will need to live or work in the United States.