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U.S. Immigrant Visa Questions

An immigrant visa is necessary for an individual to legally reside in any country. In the U.S., the pre-requisites for obtaining this extremely coveted visa are not straightforward. Even after the issue of an immigrant visa, there are stringent rules to be followed for use of the visa. The following questions different kinds of problems faced while applying or waiting for a U.S. immigrant visa, and also some concerns of U.S. immigrant visa holders.

My husband is from United Kingdom and his health record shows drug treatment from 10 years ago. Will this cause him any problems in obtaining US immigrant visa?

This should not be a reason for denial of immigrant visa provided he has not used drugs in the last three years, though he may be required to undergo some tests. It would be sensible for you to engage an attorney for his consular processing. You could find one at

I am a Brazilian who entered the U.S. on a J-1 visa, but the I-94 expired eight months ago. The J-1 was not subject to 212(e), the section that requires me to go home for two years. Currently, there is a company willing to sponsor my immigrant visa for work. As at this time I am an illegal immigrant, will I be able to get a U.S. immigrant visa?

Based on the details provided, if you leave the U.S. now, you should be able to re-apply for entry into the US after three years on a non-immigrant visa. The avenues to get status through employment, study, and investment would likely not work for you now since you have overstayed. Though limited, the following are the options that may help you to continue staying legally in the U.S.:

  1. 1. There is a possibility that in the next couple of years, immigration laws will change to help people in your situation.
  2. 2. You could apply for Asylum, Withholding of Removal, Convention against Torture, or Cancellation of Removal. You should have applied for Asylum in the first year of your stay in the US. The first three things are applicable if you fear to return to your home country as you believe that you will be specifically targeted on basis of race, religion, nationality, social group or political opinion and that you run a high risk of great bodily injury, torture, or death as a result. For Cancellation of Removal, you have to show at least 10 years of residence in the U.S. You will also have to prove that if deported, a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident that depends upon you will suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship. As it must be something more than emotional separation hardship or financial hardship, it can be difficult to prove.
  3. 3. You could file for Residency without leaving if you marry a U.S. citizen (for love), or if you have a child who is a U.S. Citizen and is over 21 years of age.

My husband and I are U.S. citizens. My Indian mother-in-law’s (MIL) U.S. immigrant visa application is in the last stage of consular processing – submitting civil documents. We have also received visa approval from INS. Although we have provided her school documents with her name and date of birth as secondary evidence, they are requesting a birth certificate or a non-availability certificate. My MIL was born in India in 1939 and does not have a birth certificate, and our attempts to obtain certificate from the government have been in vain. What should we do?

According to the law, secondary evidence can be accepted only if you provide a statement from the government that the primary evidence is not available. This means that without the non-availability certificate, you may have a problem with submitting secondary evidence. A birth certificate provided by the Indian Consulate is invalid; it must be from the registrar in the country.

The application process for an U.S. immigrant visa is quite complex, and owing to the diversity in the cases of immigrant visa applications it can be very difficult to assume any particularly type of result. It is always sensible to consult an immigration lawyer for any clarification or help.
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