Immigration follow-to-join benefits are a valuable resource for immigrants seeking to reunite with their families. These benefits allow family members who were left behind in their home countries to join their loved ones who have already immigrated to the United States. However, many people are not aware of the eligibility requirements or the application process for follow-to-join benefits. In this blog post, we will provide a comprehensive guide on immigration follow-to-join benefits, including who is eligible, the benefits, and how to apply.
Follow-to-join benefits are available to certain family members of U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPRs) and U.S. citizens who have immigrated to the United States. The eligibility criteria for follow-to-join benefits may vary depending on the immigration category of the sponsoring family member. Here are some general eligibility requirements:
- The sponsoring family member must have been lawfully admitted to the United States as an LPR or a U.S. citizen.
- The family member who is seeking follow-to-join benefits must be the spouse or unmarried child (under 21 years old) of the sponsoring family member.
- The family member who is seeking follow-to-join benefits must have been listed on the original application as a beneficiary.
It’s important to note that follow-to-join benefits are not available to all family members of LPRs and U.S. citizens. For example, parents, siblings, and married children are generally not eligible for follow-to-join benefits. Additionally, the availability of follow-to-join benefits may also depend on the priority dates for the immigrant visa category.
There are several benefits of immigration follow-to-join benefits for eligible family members. Here are some of the advantages:
- Reuniting with Family: The primary benefit of follow-to-join benefits is the ability for family members to reunite with their loved ones who have already immigrated to the United States. This can be a significant relief for families who have been separated for extended periods of time.
- Streamlining of Visa Application Process: Follow-to-join benefits allow eligible family members to apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate abroad, rather than having to go through the lengthy and often complicated process of applying for an immigrant visa through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Priority Processing: Follow-to-join benefits may also be given priority over other types of visa applications, which can reduce the overall wait time for family members to join their loved ones in the United States.
- Consular Processing: Immigrant visas obtained through follow-to-join benefits are processed at a U.S. consulate abroad. This can be advantageous for family members who may be unable to travel to the United States or who may prefer to complete the immigration process in their home country.
- No Waiting Period: Follow-to-join benefits also eliminate the need for family members to wait in line for an available visa number, as the visa number has already been allocated to the sponsoring family member’s petition.
While follow-to-join benefits can be a valuable resource for families seeking to reunite, there are some potential pitfalls and challenges that applicants should be aware of. Here are some of the common issues:
- Eligibility Requirements: Not all family members of U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPRs) and U.S. citizens are eligible for follow-to-join benefits. The eligibility criteria can be complex, and it’s important to ensure that all requirements are met before beginning the application process.
- Visa Availability: Follow-to-join benefits are subject to the availability of visa numbers in the relevant immigration category. Depending on the category, the wait time for a visa number may be lengthy or even unavailable, which can delay the reunion of family members.
- Changes in Immigration Status: The immigration status of the sponsoring family member can impact the eligibility of follow-to-join benefits. For example, if the sponsoring family member becomes a U.S. citizen before the follow-to-join applicant has received an immigrant visa, the follow-to-join applicant may no longer be eligible for benefits.
- Children aging out: In the context of U.S. immigration law, aging out refers to a situation where a child who was originally eligible to be included in a family-based immigrant visa application is no longer eligible due to reaching the age of 21 before the visa application is processed.
In summary, follow-to-join benefits can significantly simplify the immigration process for eligible family members and reduce the time and expense associated with obtaining an immigrant visa.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation and to learn how we can help you achieve your immigration goals.