These can provide difficult situations, particularly if the spouses did not complete the required legal proceedings for the marriage. One example of such a situation is if the past spouse of the beneficiary has died. Proof of this must be provided to the INS with the I-130 Petition.

There are often questions over the meanings of the words used to describe these preferences. Typically, lawyers will make an argument that the facts of your situation fit into a particular preference, even when they seem to be somewhat different from the plain language. The problem with this is that false hopes can be created.

There are several categories of what are defined as Family-Based Preferences. Here, there are quotas and waiting periods that apply. The first step is to determine that you do not fall into the Immediate Relative category, because you do not need this section if that category is applicable.

The US Code, which is the law (including the regulations) created by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), sets forth the definition of Immediate Relatives:

Application for Immigrant Visa: Family-Based Immigration: There is a specific limited number of Visas that will be issued by the US government each year. The way to apply for a Family Member Immigration Visa is to file an application called an I-130 Petition. Usually the US citizen files this form on behalf of the person who would like a Visa.


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