Immediate Relative Visa Attorneys

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OFFICE 1700 Pacific Ave. #3750, Dallas, TX 75201


OFFICE 851 Grainger St. Ste 107 Fort Worth TX 76104


OFFICE 110 Broadway St. Ste 370, San Antonio, TX 78205


OFFICE 815 Walker Street, Ste 945, Houston, TX

Houston Immediate Relative Visa Lawyers

Would you like to sponsor a family member to the United States (U.S.) to live with you, but you are unsure of how to begin the process? Working with a qualified immigration lawyer who can help you navigate the family immigration process can help. At Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, we know how challenging it can be to be separated from your family members and how complex the immigration process is. We can guide you on the right steps to take and make the green card process easier for you and your family.

An Overview of the Immediate Relative (IR) Visa

What Is an IR Visa?

Immediate relative visas are available to foreign nationals who have a direct relationship with a U.S. citizen. An individual falls under the category of an immediate relative if they are one of the following:

  • The spouse of a U.S. citizen

  • The parent of a U.S. citizen (the citizen petitioner must be at least twenty-one or older)

  • The minor children of a U.S. citizen (under twenty-one)

Although siblings may generally fall under the world’s definition of immediate family members, the USCIS does not classify them as one. They fall under a separate category for other relatives, known as the family preference category. This category includes:

  • Unmarried children of a U.S. citizen (twenty-one and above)

  • Brothers and sisters of a U.S. citizen (citizen petitioner must be twenty-one and older)

  • Married children of a U.S. citizen

  • Spouses of a lawful permanent resident

  • Unmarried children (under twenty-one) of a lawful permanent resident

  • Unmarried sons and daughters (over twenty-one or older) of a lawful permanent resident

Important Characteristics of IR Visas

Immediate relative visas are unlimited. This means that there are no yearly caps on the number of visas issued. Therefore, immediate relatives who meet the USCIS eligibility and requirements do not have to wait for a priority date before they can apply for their green card. The requirements are different for your other relatives applying for family preference visas. There is an annual cap for this type of visa, and your family members applying through this route will have to wait for immigrant visas to become available.

The spouse or children of your family member will not qualify as derivative beneficiaries. They must complete and file their own individual green card applications with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Applying for an IR Visa

The immediate relative visa process begins with you, the U.S. citizen sponsor, filing and submitting Form I-130 (Petition for alien relative) on behalf of your family member. The form is used to establish the family relationship that exists between you and them.

Once the petition is approved, your family member can adjust their status if they are currently in the U.S. This is done by filing Form I-485 without leaving the U.S. Additionally, they may file Form I-485 concurrently with the immediate relative petition you filed on their behalf.

However, if they are outside the country, the approved Form I-130 petition will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC), which will forward it to the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. This process is referred to as consular processing. The NVC will also notify them of any existing fees they must pay or additional documents they must submit.

The consular officer in their home country will schedule an interview to confirm their identity and the information provided. If the USCIS denies the petition, they will notify you of the denial and the reasons behind their decision. With the help of a knowledgeable immigration lawyer, you may be able to appeal the USCIS’s decision.

Checklist of Documents You Need for the IR Visa 

Filing a successful IR family-based petition requires you to provide certain documents. Some of the documents you will need to provide during the IR green card petition process include:

  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship (e.g., birth certificate, passport, certificate of naturalization)

  • Proof of family relationship (e.g., marriage certificate, birth certificate, or adoption decree)

  • Two passport-style photographs

  • Certified police and court records

  • Form I-864 (Affidavit of support)

The checklist is non-exhaustive, as the documents you are required to provide will depend on your specific situation. During the consular processing, the U.S. citizen relative and the foreign family member will also need to provide supporting documents. 

By consulting with an experienced IR visa attorney, you can ensure that you have attached all the necessary supporting documents.

How Immediate Relative Visa Attorneys Can Help

Sponsoring your family member for an immediate relative immigrant visa can be a demanding process, but with an in-depth understanding of the necessary documents and proper preparation, the process can become easier. At Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, our team of IR visa attorneys can:

  1. Work with you to meet all the USCIS requirements and deadlines
  2. Help you prepare and submit the correct family immigration forms and supporting documents
  3. Advise you on any potential issue or legal complications that may arise during the IR visa process
  4. Resolve any concerns that you may have about your application
  5. Help you navigate changing U.S. immigration laws and regulations

Are you considering sponsoring a family member for a green card? Then, it is important to consider hiring a professional immigration law attorney to help you prepare and handle your case. Our lawyers can ensure that your application is accurate, complete, and up to date with existing immigration requirements.

Need Help With Your Family-Based Immigration Application? Contact Us Today

Working with an immigration lawyer can help give you peace of mind and make the family immigration process less stressful. Having a skilled professional on your side can help reduce the stress and uncertainty of navigating the U.S. immigration system. Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, has extensive experience handling immigration cases. We can answer all your family-based immigration questions and help bring your family together. Schedule a free initial consultation with us today and get the help you need.