Family-Based Immigrant Visa
The majority of immigrants who get green cards to live in the United States get them based on a petition by a family member. Generally, the immigration law mandates an annual limit of 226,000 visa numbers for family-based immigration worldwide. The law further directs that family-based visas must be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which the petitions are filed thus creating long waiting lines for certain categories of relatives. Exempt from the quota system altogether are immediate relatives, that is, the spouses, children under the age of 21 and parents of U.S. citizens.
Below are the different relationships that the law allows a foreign national to immigrate based on the family relationship.
- Family-Based Immigrant Visa Classification
- Immediate Relative (IR)
- Spouses (of any gender), children under the age of 21 and parents of U.S. citizens (not subject to any visa number quota)
- First Preference (F1)
- Unmarried adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens; minor children may also immigrate with their parent
- Second A Preference (F2A)
- Spouses and children of Lawful Permanent Residents ("Green Card holders"); minor children may also immigrate with their parent
- Second B Preference (F2B)
- Unmarried adult sons and daughters of Lawful Permanent Residents; minor children may also immigrate with their parent
- Third Preference
- Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens; minor children may also immigrate with their parent
- Fourth Preference
- Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens (including half-siblings and step-siblings in certain situations); minor children may also immigrate with their parent.
Note that grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, grandchildren, in-laws and other relatives are not included on this list.
Claudia Slovinsky and Associates, PLLC has handled thousands of family-based cases in the more than forty years of the practice. While many cases may seem straight-forward, this area of the law can become very complicated. Marriage and divorce can profoundly affect a case.
Some family relationships are difficult to prove, children can age-out, or petitioners may die before the green card is granted. Petitioning for adopted children is possible, but many other requirements are imposed. We are very familiar with all aspects of this area of law, including the special circumstances that may affect LGBTQ families, and can help you and your family unite in the United States.