Visa wait extended for family of U.S. citizens

Many Americans who seek green cards for foreign relatives have been distanced from their loved ones for a lengthy period as a result of delays at Citizen and Immigration Services. It all began when the agency placed focus on a 2012 program, which provides deferred deportation to young undocumented immigrants. The program is called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. However, the difficulty Americans experience in retaining permanent resident visas for their spouses and children raises concerns about immigration priorities.

Many American citizens spent this holiday season without their loved ones, including children and spouses. In the past, a U.S. citizen could secure a green card for a family member in five months or less. However, over the past year, approval rates for resident visas grew to three times that time, and over 500,000 are still pending. This is compromising international moves and pushing families further apart.

A spokesperson from Citizenship and Immigration Services acknowledges "a temporary increase in processing times" for green card applications. Last year, the agency made an effort to find the underlying cause of the issue and help expedite the processing for green cards. It did this by delegating applications to a few other processing centers. After this, the agency reduced the processing time to 10 months; however, the officials do not anticipate a further reduction in the processing time until the summer. In the mean time, Americans continue to wait for their families.

Options for those related to a United States citizen

Americans have the right to petition for family members - including parents, children and spouses - to become permanent residents of the U.S. and begin the citizenship process. There are several visa options for relatives of U.S. citizens. They include:

  • K-1 and K-3 Fiancée Visas
  • K-3 Visas
  • Immediate Relatives
  • FB-1 First Preference
  • FB-2 Third Preference
  • FB-4 Fourth Preference

The K visas deal with those engaged to be married or married couples. The FB visas concern children and siblings.

If your loved one is experiencing difficulty coming to the United States, speak to a lawyer about your options. As officials work to expedite the visa process, it helps to have legal assistance. It is very difficult to live away from family members. This can be emotionally draining and push a family apart. To learn more about the immigration rights of your awaiting family, speak with a qualified immigration law attorney in your area.