Step 1. Immigrant Visa Petition (I-130)
The immigrant visa petition for an alien relative can be filed at any time. The Petitioner must show proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residence and documentary evidence of the qualifying relationship to the Beneficiary. If the relative being sponsored is an immediate relative and is in the U.S., the relative petition and the Application for Permanent Residence can be filed together.
Once USCIS received the visa petition, it will be approved or denied. In the event that the petition is approved, USCIS then sends the approved visa petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center. The Center will notify you when the visa petition is received and again when an immigrant visa number is available. The immigrant visa numbers are allotted on the basis of the Preference Categories (described above). You can check your visa number allotment status in the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin.
Step 2. Application for Permanent Residence – Adjustment of Status or consular processing
Once the Relative Petition is approved, beneficiaries under the preference system must wait until visas are available before filing the Application for Permanent Residence. Visas are always available for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. The date of filing the petition establishes the “priority date” which is the Beneficiary’s place in line for their visa.
You can apply for adjustment of status if you are inside the U.S. and entered legally and you are otherwise eligible. Some individuals are not eligible. For example, those that entered unlawfully/illegally are ineligible and there are several other circumstances which may bar you from adjustment of status as well. Please contact us so we can assess your case.
At the time the Application for Permanent Residence is filed, the beneficiary can apply for work authorization and permission to travel outside the U.S. while the application is processing.