Overview of Family Based Immigration
Family based immigration is becoming a U.S. permanent resident through certain family relations. Family based immigration assists U.S. citizens and U.S. legal permanent residents with reuniting with relatives. Family based immigrant petitions are filed by either U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The U.S. citizen or permanent resident is called the “sponsor” and the petition is filed on behalf of the the foreign national relative who is called the “beneficiary”. There are two groups of family based immigrant visa categories, including “immediate relatives” and “family preference categories.” Subhan Law Office, LLC, will advise and counsel you on U.S. family based immigration rules and regulations to assist you in reuniting with your relative or relatives.
Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens
The term immediate relative applies to limited relatives of U.S. citizens, including spouses, parents, and children who are unmarried and under 21 years of age. Special rules apply for spouses of U.S. citizens, if you have been married for less than two years. Immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen can immigrate to the United States without being subject to any numerical limitations, unlike other close family members of U.S. citizens and or permanent residents. Immediate relatives can apply for permanent resident status without any waiting period. Visas for immediate relatives are always available, which means that your family member does not need to wait in line for a visa.
Immediate relative visa types include:
1. IR-1 or CR-1: Spouse of a U.S. Citizen – Learn More
2. IR-2: Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen
3. IR-3: Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen – Learn More
4. IR-4: Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen – Learn More
5. IR-5: Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old
Requirements for an Immediate Relative Visa
1. The sponsoring relative must file an I-130 petition.*
2. Immediate relatives require an I-130 filing for each sponsored family member.
3. Sufficient documentation of the qualifying family relationship must be provided.
4. Family-based cases generally require an affidavit of support.
*The sponsoring relative files an I-130 petition on behalf of the foreign national relative. If the relative is outside the U.S., the immigrant visa case will proceed via consular processing at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad. If the relative is in the U.S. under a valid non-immigrant visa, the relative may apply to adjust status to a permanent resident with form I-485 at the same time the I-130 petition is filed.
Family Preference Categories (Other Close Family Members of a U.S. Citizen and Family Members of Permanent Residents)
The term family preference relative applies to certain other close family members and relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Close family members are divided into several groups called “preferences”. Preference relatives include: married and unmarried sons and or daughters who are over 21 of U.S. citizens, and brothers and or sisters of U.S. citizens. Also included as preference relatives are: spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and or daughters who are over 21 of U.S. permanent residents. Immigration preference relatives are subject to a numerical limit of immigrant visas available to them each year and they cannot obtain permanent residence until their priority dates are current. Priority dates are based on the specific family preference category the relative is based and his or her country of origin. The priority date determines the length of time a preference relative must wait for an available visa. The higher the ” family preference category,” the quicker the foreign national relative will be eligible to receive permanent residency or a green card in the U.S.
For detailed information on family preference categories of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents please click on the following links:
- First preference: Unmarried Children over 21 year of age of U.S. Citizens
- Second Preference: Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of Legal Permanent Residents
- Third preference: Married Children of U.S. Citizens
- Fourth preference: Brothers or Sisters of U.S. Citizens
For more information on Family Immigrant Visas visit the U.S. Dept. of State.