Family-Based Immigration to the United States

For citizens or permanent residents who have family living abroad, the family-based immigration system allows their family members a simplified process for immigrating to the United States. Family-Based immigration is currently the largest source of immigration to the U.S., comprising about 65% of immigration per year, or over 80% of immigration in the past decade. Because most other forms of visa applications have a significantly higher number of applicants per year than are processed, family-based immigration is the only viable method for many people who want permanent residence in the United States.

What are the requirements for family-based immigration?

First, there must be a petitioner who is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. They will file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, which requests that their family member be given permanent residence. There are two different categories within family-based immigration that dictate the process for the overseas family member, known as the beneficiary:

1. Immediate Relatives

Immediate relatives are given priority in immigration, and there are an unlimited number of visas available for them. They also do not have to wait in queue for visa numbers, which means there is no extended wait time as with other visa categories. To fall into the category of immediate relatives, the beneficiary has to be the spouse, unmarried child who is under 21 years of old, adopted orphan, or parent of a U.S. citizen.

2. Family Preference

The family preference category is not given the same priority as the immediate relatives category, which means that family members in this category will have to face wait times commonly estimated to be between 2 and 7 years. The family preference category is for unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens who are over 21 years old, spouses and unmarried children of permanent residents, and unmarried adult children of permanent residents.

Unfortunately, only those who fall into the immediate relative category have an expedited process and a guaranteed immigrant visa available to them. For those who have the option, this is the best way to gain permanent residence in the United States. If you’re in need of assistance with the family-based immigration process or any other visa application, contact RelisLaw at 1-800-514-4290 to schedule a consultation today. Consultations are also available via Skype, Zoom, and other platforms.

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We help people from around the world to live and work freely in the U.S., to achieve their dreams, unite families, or escape persecution. No matter what immigration service you need, RelisLaw will provide caring and dependable counsel to you and aggressive advocacy to vigorously fight for you using every available legal avenue. As a global firm, we work with people in countries around the world. We meet clients across the U.S., as well as in New York, Toronto, and Montréal. We also meet with clients globally, located in any country, via Skype and other platforms.

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