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Changes in family-based immigration law- after immigration reform

Dear Readers, I am so sorry for the delay in this particular post. I know I have promised many of you that I will let you know how things will be changing and how that affects you.  See below a flowchart I created demonstrating what the current system looks like and how it will change. Recently, someone posed a question how family-based immigration will become faster.  The answer is simple- by changing many of the current preference cateogories into immediate relatives, preference cateogory visas will be freed up for new petitions.

Family-based immigration changes flowchart created by Tahmina Watson

Family-based immigration changes flowchart created by Tahmina Watson

What will happen to my pending petition?

If you have a pending petition in any preference category, that should automatically change into a new category (see above).

How will this new system reduce my waiting time?

If your petition turns into an immediate relative petition, then hopefully you should see action soon.  If your petition is in a preference cateogory that still has a waiting time, then you may be eligible for a Track 2 merit based petition.  

I want to apply for my parent/spouse/child- when shall I do it?

There is no time like the present! But remember, while we all hope immigration reform will happen, there is some chance that the bill may not pass.  It is wise not to rely on what may happen and act on what the current law provides.

Is the sibling category really being eliminated?

I’m afraid so.  It is best to file for your siblings now, while you can.

Can I retain my family-based prority date if someone else files an immigrant petition for me?

The current system only allows you to retain your priority date if the same person files a new petition for you.  The immigration reform bill S.744 will change that to allow anyone to retain their earliest priority date in any family-based or employment-based immigration petition.

If I file an immigrant petition for my sibling, can he/she visit me in the US?

The V-visa will be expanded in the bill which will allow your sibling (of USC) to visit you for upto 60 days in the US.  Your sibling will not be allowed to work during that time. In addition, she/he will not receive a visa (when a visa becomes available) while in the US.

Can my unmarried son/daughter (of LPR)  or married son/daughter  child (of USC) visit me in the US while the I-130 petition is pending?

Yes. Immigration reform will make this wonderful change.  She/he can visit and even get work permission while here.  However, the work permission will end if the I-130 is denied or the adjustment is denied.  The work permission will be terminated within 30 days of denial.

I am a green holder and I am applying for my daughter. My daughter has a 6 month old son.  What will happen to him?

Under current immigration law, your grandchild will have to wait for your daughter to file a petition for him.  However, immigration reform will allow your grandchild to come to the US with your daughter! This is a huge change!  See above chart for derivatives.


If you have any questions, feel free to email us at [email protected].

*Copyright 2013 by Watson Immigration Law. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.