Immigrants in most categories will need an immigrant petition, Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, or another petition) filed on their behalf.
A petition establishes the underlying basis for your ability to immigrate and determines your immigrant classification or category. Some categories of immigrants may be able to self-petition. Most people immigrating based on humanitarian programs are exempt from the petition requirement.
Some immigrant petitions can be filed at the same time as the adjustment application (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), known as “concurrent filing” while other categories of immigrants will be required to wait until they have an approved petition before being allowed to apply for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa. For more information about concurrent filing, Click HERE.
A visa is always available for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. If you are in a family or employment based preference category, visa availability is determined by:
Your priority date
The preference category you are immigrating under
The country the visa will be charged to (usually your country of citizenship)
The Department of State is the government agency that controls visa numbers. The annual limits for visa numbers are established by Congress and can be referenced in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
First, a priority date will be assigned to you based on your immigrant petition filing date (the date that the petition is properly filed with the Gov.) or, in certain employment-based cases, the date the application for a labor certification was accepted by the Department of Labor. Your priority date holds your place in line for an immigrant visa.
This date, along with your country of nationality and preference category, determines if or how long a person will have to wait for a visa to be immediately available. When the officials are ready to approve an applicant for permanent residency in a visa category that has limited numbers, we must first request a visa number from the Department of State.
When a visa is available, you may file Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (if you are in the United States) or apply for an immigrant visa abroad (consular processing). If you are consular processing, the Gov. will forward your approved petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center who will contact you when your priority date is about to become current as to what your next steps are and when you may apply for an immigrant visa abroad.
For more information on determining visa availability or filing abroad, see the “Visa Availability & Priority Dates” and “Consular Processing” links to the left.
Admissibility to the United States
All persons applying for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status must prove to the satisfaction of immigration or consular officials that they are admissible (eligible for admission) to the United States.
There are many grounds of inadmissibility that could potentially cause someone to be ineligible to become a permanent resident. For instance, there are health-related, criminal, security-related, and other grounds the office must consider.
In some cases and in certain situations, if you are found inadmissible to the United States you may be eligible to file a waiver on Application for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility, (the form required for most immigrants) or Application By Refugee For Waiver of Grounds of Excludability (the form required for refugees and asylees) to excuse your inadmissibility.
The grounds of inadmissibility that are determined by the particular category under which you are immigrating. If you are ultimately found inadmissible to the United States, your adjustment of status application or immigrant visa application will be denied. Congress has set the grounds of inadmissibility and they may be referenced in Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
After all paperwork has been received, interviews conducted (if necessary), security checks completed, and other eligibility requirements reviewed, your case will be ready for a decision by the Government.
For more information, CALL (559) 761-9742 or Click HERE.