Family Based Visas: Overview, Continued
Numerical Limitations for Limited Family-based Preference Categories
Whenever the number of qualified applicants for a category exceeds the available immigrant visas, there will be an immigration wait. In this situation, the available immigrant visas will be issued in the chronological order in which the petitions were filed using their priority date. The filing date of a petition becomes what is called the applicant's priority date. Immigrant visas cannot be issued until an applicant's priority date is reached. In certain categories with many approved petitions compared to available visas, there may be a waiting period of several years, or more, before a priority date is reached.
Returning Resident Immigrant Visas (SB)
A lawful permanent resident (LPR) who has remained outside the
U.S. for longer than twelve months, or beyond the validity period of a re-entry permit, will require a new immigrant visa to enter the and resume permanent residence. A provision exists under U.S. U.S. visa law for the issuance of a returning resident special immigrant visa to an LPR who remained outside the due to circumstances beyond his/her control. U.S.