Godoy Olivieri, Ltd.-An immigration law firm
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Family immigrant visas backlogged in US

Immigration reform efforts have fallen flat during the last legislative session in Congress but that hasn't stopped advocates from calling for immigration reform during the next session coming up this fall. Supporters of immigration reform say that immigration laws need to be revised and the backlog of family sponsored visas are a prime example as to why changes need to be made.

There are currently over four million applicants waiting to receive a family based visa, and reports show that many immigrants wait years and even decades before getting their green cards. Supporters say that the backlog of family immigrant visa applications is one reason why the U.S. needs immigration reform to help families reunite and stay together.

Individuals thinking about applying for a family-based visa should know that there are two different categories of family immigration visas. The first category is immediate relatives, which are for immigrants who have family relationships with U.S. citizens. Immediate relatives include spouses, unmarried children under 21 and parents. The other category is family preference. Family preference is used for distant family relationships with U.S. citizens like adult children, siblings and unmarried children and spouses of people with green cards. 

The main difference between the immediate relative category and family preference is that family visas are not limited for immediate relatives. Family preference visas are capped at 226,000 per year. The limit on these family visas makes it difficult for many immigrants to stay together in the U.S., and has contributed to the huge backlog of family visas applications. 

The backlog and difficult process of obtaining a family immigrant visa has created several challenges for many immigrant families. Supporters of immigration reform hope that Congress will be able to discuss this issue and take action to reform the current immigration system to help immigrants in the U.S. and their families located throughout the world. 

Source: SAMPAM, "Backlog of family immigration cases poses continuing problem," Sylvana Chan, Sept. 6, 2013

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Godoy Olivieri, Ltd.-An immigration law firm

2021 Midwest Road
Suite 200
Oak Brook, IL 60523
312-445-0591 local
800-264-2752 toll free
630-705-5258 fax
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1655 S. Blue Island Ave.
Suite 300
Chicago, IL. 60608
312-445-0591 local
800-264-2752 toll free
630-705-5258 fax
Map & Directions