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How to Get Approval for a Family Visa

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is supposed to pay special attention to the petitions made by citizens, green card holders, refugees, and asylum recipients who wish to reunite with their family members. Even with the best intentions of USCIS officials to allow citizens and residents to reunite with their foreign-born loved ones, getting a visa approved for a relative is not always an easy process.

In general, there are two visa categories for foreign relatives: immigrant and non-immigrant. For the most part, non-immigrant visas for tourism and family visits are easier to obtain, provided the applicants can prove they do not intend to stay in the U.S. and have plenty of incentives to return to their countries. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who wish to immigrate and live with those who petition on their behalf are given the following preference:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Parents of adults over 21 years of age
  • Brothers and sisters
  • Fiancé and fiancée

For permanent residents, the preferences are:

  • Children
  • Spouse 
  • Unmarried adult children

For refugees and those who have been granted asylum, spouses and minor children are given preference if they are facing hardship in their countries of origin.

The forms and application process that should be followed by petitioners will depend on their status, USCIS relative preference, and eligibility of the applicants. Under the current political climate of the Trump administration, family-based immigration has become problematic because the White House has applied certain measures that call for greater scrutiny of both petitioners and applicants. These measures have been largely influenced by President Donald Trump himself, who refers to immigrant family reunification as “chain migration” efforts that undermine national security.

USCIS data collected in 2017 shows that family visa approval rates have dropped by more than 25 percent during the Trump administration, and one of the issues in this regard is that USCIS Director Lee Francis Cissna is generally opposed to family-based immigration without being selective about who is approved to enter the country. As a result of this political climate, petitioners and applicants can expect longer processing times and greater difficulty obtaining approvals.

The best way to get family visa approvals in the Trump era is to allow immigration law firms to handle the petition and applications process. It should be noted that immigration reform probably will not happen soon, which means the laws have not changed and many rules are still the same. While the political climate is challenging, applicants and petitioners have every right to inquire about obstacles and bureaucracy they encounter. Better yet, they should allow seasoned immigration attorneys in San Diego, CA, to intercede on their behalf. 

Given the current situation, petitions and applications must be submitted in a timely fashion and without any room for mistakes or ambiguity. This is one of the most important functions of immigration law firms since it gives them legal ammunition to question or appeal bottlenecks and disapprovals.

For reliable family immigration services, San Diego, CA, residents can reach out to KS Visa Law. We can answer your questions and help you take the necessary steps to get a family visa approved. Call 858-874-0711 today to learn more.

May 2024