Family Visas and Priority Dates - DuPage County Immigration Attorneys | Mevorah Law Offices LLC
Button 3 Button 1 Button 2 Button 4 Button 5 Button 6
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Free Initial Consultation | Se habla español 630-932-9100
Mevorah Law Offices LLC
DuPage County Attorneys


900 E. Roosevelt Road, Lombard, IL 60148

Phone: 630-932-9100


134 N. Bloomingdale Road, Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Phone: 630-529-4761


333 N. Randall Road, Suite 104, St. Charles, IL 60175

Phone: 630-443-0600


105 W. Madison Street, Suite 2200, Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 630-932-9100


1730 Park Street, Suite 202, Naperville, IL 60563

Phone: 630-420-1000

Family Visas and Priority Dates

Posted on in Immigration
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Print

IL immigration lawyerMany people labor under the misapprehension that immigrants waiting to be admitted to the United States as citizens must all wait in one big line. In reality, there are as many types of “lines” as there are visa categories, and all of them are strictly regulated and portioned off. There are only certain amounts of people granted visas for each type of visa from each country per year, and those who are in that ‘line’ very often must wait years upon years before being granted what they asked for.

Everyone Must Wait

With rare exceptions for unusual visa categories, nearly everyone who submits an immigrant visa petition must wait for there to be available space in the quota. Grants of each visa are circumscribed by both total amount and country of origin - in other words, there might be visas left over during a specific year, but a country’s allotment may run out beforehand. Queues for employment-based visas can be long, but waits for family-based visas are by far the longest in most cases.

Because wait times can stretch into the decades, every case is assigned a preference category and a priority date. Preference categories are for different types of families of U.S. citizens or LPRs (lawful permanent residents, those who hold green cards). Some family is not subject to numerical limits on visas - for example, unmarried minor children of U.S. citizens may apply immediately for a visa. Family which is either less immediate or more able to apply on their own is generally relegated to the preference categories - unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens, spouses and minor children of LPRs, and siblings of U.S. citizens are some examples of the family required to wait until there is numerical availability for visas.

Priority Dates

A priority date is the marker by which someone in a preference category can check their place in the visa queue. It is usually the date on which the person’s paperwork is officially submitted. The calendar for processing visas, however, does not move in real time because sometimes it can take more than one day’s worth of work to process a visa or series of visas. As such, the priority date calendar is markedly behind the real-time calendar.

If one examines the Visa Bulletin, which is put out monthly by the U.S. Department of State, one can see that some “chargeability areas” have priority dates much earlier than others. For example, the most recent Bulletin shows that visas in the family preference category 1 (F1) for applicants from India will be just now given to those whose paperwork was accepted on April 22, 2011. This means that since 2011, the people in that category have been waiting for their visas. Only when one’s priority date is current can the visa proceedings go ahead, but many are unaware of this fact.

Contact an Experienced Immigration Lawyer

Because priority dates can be a long time off, you may be left with questions about your case. If you are in the middle of applying for a family-based visa, contacting an attorney can help clarify matters. The passionate Chicago immigration lawyers at Mevorah Law Offices LLC can try and answer your questions. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.



  • DuPage County Immigration Lawyers
  • Elite Lawyer
  • National Association of Distinguished Counsel
  • Top 40 Under 40
  • 2015 Top 40 Lawyers Under 40
  • Super Lawyers
  • Better Business Bureau

Let us start helping you with a FREE initial consultation.

NOTE: Fields with a * indicate a required field.

One Stop For All Your Legal Needs

Whether you are going through a divorce, injured in an accident, need to file a workers' compensation claim, charged with a crime, immigrating to the United States, or need to file for bankruptcy, Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help. Our trial lawyers have over 40 years of experience helping clients throughout Northern Illinois from five offices in Lombard, Bloomindale, Naperville, St. Charles, and Chicago.

Steven Mevorah has assembled experienced attorneys under one roof so that his clients need not search for a new attorney each time they need help. Mr. Mevorah has also established a wide network of additional attorneys so that his clients merely need to stop by Mevorah Law Offices LLC to find the attorney they need.

Client Focused Representation

Our practice is focused on meeting your needs with flexible hours and locations to serve you:

  • Free initial consultations
  • Saturday and evening appointments available
  • Home and hospital visits if your injuries prevent you from traveling
  • Multiple locations throughout Chicagoland
  • Veteran trial attorneys
  • Experienced negotiators
  • Payment plans available
  • Cash, check, or credit card accepted