\ afm \ Adjudicator's Field Manual - Redacted Public Version \ Chapter 21 Family-based Petitions and Applications. \
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21.1 General Information About Relative Visa Petitions.
Historical Information Regarding Visa Petitions
In the aftermath of World War I, Congress passed a number of laws restricting immigration to the U.S. by both numbers and qualifications. [Previously, there were restrictions barring certain types of individuals based on individual shortcomings (e.g., the Act of March 3, 1875 which barred convicts and prostitutes, and the Act of August 3, 1882, which barred criminals, paupers, and “mental and physical defectives”), and on race (i.e., the Chinese Exclusion Act of May 6, 1882).] In order to qualify for an imm
igrant visa (itself a new post-WWI innovation), the alien had to fall within one of the quota categories, or be exempt therefrom. The visa petition was then created as the vehicle for establishing that an alien fell into one of the higher quota categories, or was quota-exempt.
Over the years, the definitions of the various immigrant visa categories have changed with the passage of new legislation, and the requirements have been interpreted and reinterpreted through volumes of case law. However, the need for an approved immigrant visa petition to qualify for most visa classifications has remained a basic requirement of the system of legal immigration to the United States. It is no exaggeration to say that professional adjudication of immigrant visa petitions is one of the keystone
s to ensuring that the system works as intended.
Organization of This Chapter
Many of the basic visa petition adjudication procedures and issues are similar regardless of the form being filed or the classification being sought. Those basic procedures are discussed in
are organized according to the relationship of the petitioner to the beneficiary and discuss those aspects of the adjudication procedures and issues which are unique to those particular relationships. Accordingly, it is intended that the users of this field manual review both subchapter 21.2 and the relevant individual relationship subchapter when seeking information.