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Does My Family Member Have To Be Abroad At The Time Of Filing For Immigration?


There is a special category of visas that allow family members to enter the US while their petition is still pending. Let’s take the example of a US citizen petitioning for their spouse, who is abroad. The US Citizen can start the K visa process as soon as they receive their petition receipt number, and then the K visa can be obtained abroad at the US embassy. Unfortunately, the time it takes to process the green card for this individual, and the time it takes to get the K-3 or K-4 visa to immigrate while their green card petition is pending, is roughly the same.

While the immigration petition is pending, it is not unheard of for individuals to come to the US as tourists, in order to visit their family/petitioner. This can create some problems, as a tourist or visitor is not supposed to have any immigration intent when they come to the US. When they arrive, they can attest that they don’t intend to immigrate and will return to their home country to the immigration officer. The problem is that this person does have immigration intentions because they do have a pending petition for a green card. Because of this, the immigration officer at the border crossing has sole discretion to let this person enter the US while that petition is pending. The individual who is being petitioned for must understand that there is a risk of being denied entry to the US as a tourist or other visitor if the immigration officer doesn’t believe they will return to their home country while their petition is pending.

How Can I Check The Status Of My Visa Petition?

A receipt number is given every time a US Citizen or green card holder files a petition for a family member. You can always check the status of your case through the USCIS website, www.uscis.gov, though the status check feature by entering the case number. However, only limited information about cases is posted on the USCIS website.

Individuals are sometimes concerned when they look up their case status information and receive a notification that no information was found in the system. The case was not lost, and there is no reason to be concerned. This is because when you look up your case status, you are accessing a public USCIS database. Any website or database can have a glitch, including these ones. However, these glitches are not common, and most inquiries should bring up some information about your case.

Are You Able To Appeal A Family-Based Immigration Petition Denial?

There are a few different ways to appeal an immigration petition denial. In most cases, an appeal can be filed with the Board of Immigration Appeals when an I-130 petition by a US Citizen or green card holder is denied. You may also be able to appeal a case to the Office of Administrative Appeals, or with USCIS in the form of a Motion to Reopen or Reconsider. The specifics of your immigration case determine which of these entities you can appeal to. If you want to appeal a USCIS decision, you should always consult with an immigration attorney.

For more information on Being In The US When Filing For Immigration, a free case evaluation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (202) 350-2571 today.

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