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Know the Truth About Family-Based Visas

It can be hard to tell family-based immigration information from lies. Misinterpretations of immigration laws cause misunderstanding. Unfortunately, North Carolina family-based visa myths can mislead immigrants and prospective immigrants.

An experienced Diener Law attorney will help you grasp the complex family-based immigration requirements. Our professionals can assist you understand family-based visa rules. We can help you prepare appropriate papers and answer family-based visa questions. Contact us today for legal assistance with family-based immigration. Ask about our FREE Immigration Solution Finder.

Quick Summary:

Improve your comprehension of the family-based visa procedure by exploring this article, which dispels prevalent misconceptions about family-based visas in North Carolina. Offering valuable insights for those embarking on the immigration journey, this resource underscores the importance of collaborating with a skilled attorney. A professional attorney can decipher immigration laws, increasing your likelihood of successfully acquiring and retaining a family-based visa.

Myth #1: Family-Based Immigration Is Closely Associated With Illegal Immigration

Illegal immigration is scarcely related to family-based immigration. Critics of family-based migration typically claim unity waivers provide undocumented immigrants amnesty, although this is misleading. Though rare, family unity waivers help immigrant families stay together while seeking legal status. 

Waiver recipients must depart the US and attend an immigrant visa interview with a consular officer abroad. The applicant’s visa eligibility and country entry are considered during this interview.

What Are Family Unity Waivers?

In the US, family unity waivers is a legal method of allowing illegal immigrants to stay. These waivers mitigate family separation when one or more family members have an undocumented presence or have immigration issues.

Unauthorized immigrants may face three- or 10-year readmission bans after leaving the U.S. Family Unity Waivers allow qualifying individuals to request an exemption from these limits by showing “extreme hardship.”

The premise of tremendous hardship drives family unity waivers. Individuals must show that their absence from the U.S. will cause considerable and undue hardship to their spouses, parents, or children who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

Myth #2: Family-Based Immigration is Not Controlled

Due to its high immigration rates, family-based migration is generally seen as uncontrolled. However, the U.S. immigration system prioritizes conservative family values and family unity, which explains family-based immigration’s large share of total visa allotment.

U.S. citizens can sponsor unlimited number of spouses, unmarried minor children, and parents, but most other qualified ties are limited to 226,000 visas per year. Each fiscal year, 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are granted. The U.S. issues a large number of employment-based nonimmigrant visas each year, requiring applicants to show their desire to leave.

Like other US immigrant and nonimmigrant visa systems, the family-based visa system processes applications systematically, legally, and thoroughly. The majority of immigrants are family-based, reflecting national feeling and congressional rules.

Myth #3:  Family-Based Immigrants Do Not Help the Economy

It is a common misperception that family-based immigrants contribute little to the US economy. The U.S. gains from immigration, including unskilled laborers. Having people focus on their strengths boosts creativity, entrepreneurship, and economic progress. The U.S. economy benefits from low-skilled workers, whether they arrive under family-based or employment visas, according to studies. While employment-based immigrants start with greater wages, family-based immigrants engage more in skill development, growing their earnings faster.

Even considering an employment-based “points system” does not mean eliminating family-based immigration. Family immigrants enrich the nation’s social and economic fabric. Even merit-based countries like Canada allow family-based migration. This shows that family-based and merit-based immigration are essential to a strong immigration system.

Myth #4: Older Immigrants Are a Burden to the Economy

It is a fact that the proportion of elderly adults among foreign-born individuals is increasing due to both the aging of immigrants and the immigration of elderly individuals. However, this demographic shift does not necessarily translate into a significant burden on the economy. Contrary to assumptions, foreign-born elderly individuals are more likely to be employed than their native-born counterparts, and they are less prone to relying on Social Security benefits or public assistance.

The aging of the native-born American population also presents economic challenges. Immigration, particularly family-based immigration, plays a crucial role in mitigating these demographic concerns. Immigrants, including the elderly, contribute to federal and state taxes, as well as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid funds. While acknowledging the challenges posed by an aging immigrant population, it’s essential to recognize that restricting family-based immigration is not the most effective policy lever to address these concerns, and the associated reforms may outweigh the benefits.

Myth #5: Marrying a U.S. Citizen Automatically Grants Lawful Permanent Resident Status

In the context of family-based immigration, a common misconception is that marrying a U.S. citizen automatically results in the granting of lawful permanent resident status. This myth assumes a straightforward process, disregarding the nuanced eligibility criteria outlined in Section 245 of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The reality is that adjustment to lawful permanent resident status requires a careful analysis of various factors, including the lawful entry of the individual into the U.S., the availability of a visa number, passing medical and security clearances, and meeting admissibility requirements.

Eligibility Criteria for U.S. Citizenship Through Marriage

To be eligible for U.S. citizenship through marriage, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States for at least three years immediately before the date you file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
  • Have been living in marital union with your U.S. citizen spouse during the three years immediately before the date you file Form N-400 and while USCIS adjudicates your application.
  • Have lived for at least three months in a state or USCIS district having jurisdiction over your place of residence.
  • Be able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history and of the principles and form of government of the United States (also known as civics).

Additional Requirements for Spouses of U.S. Citizens

In addition to the general requirements listed above, spouses of U.S. citizens must also meet the following requirements:

  • You must have been physically present in the United States for at least 18 months out of the three years immediately before the date you file Form N-400.
  • You must be of good moral character.
  • You must not have been convicted of certain crimes.


There are a few exceptions to the general and additional requirements listed above. For example, if you have been serving honorably in the U.S. military, you may be eligible to apply for citizenship after only one year of permanent residence and without meeting the English and civics requirements.

How to Apply for U.S. Citizenship Through Marriage

To apply for U.S. citizenship through marriage, you must file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. You can find Form N-400 and other information about the naturalization process on the USCIS website.

Once you have filed Form N-400, you will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment and a naturalization interview. At the interview, you will be asked questions about your application and about your knowledge of U.S. history and government. If you pass the interview, you will be approved for citizenship and scheduled for a naturalization ceremony.

Clarify Myths About Family-Based Visas North Carolina

Carefully assessing these myths is crucial, given the confusing nature of immigration policies and the ever-changing landscape of legislative and administrative decisions. Seeking guidance from a skilled immigration attorney at Diener Law can provide you with valuable insights into navigating the complexities of obtaining a family-based visa. Reach out to us today to address any misconceptions about family-based visas in North Carolina! We also offer a FREE Immigration Solution Finder Tool.

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