Family-Based Immigrant Visas-Living and Working Permanently In the United States


The Family Based Immigration process is governed by a system of immigrant visas, each of which establishes specific terms and conditions for entering and remaining in the United States. An Immigrant visa granting Legal Permanent Residency is also commonly referred to as a "Green Card."

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues Immigrant visas (Green Cards) based on a quota system. For Family Based Immigrant visas, a system of preference categories is used in addition to the quota system.

There are four basic categories of family preference:

  • Adult sons and daughters of United States citizens
  • Spouses and adult sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents or Green Card holders
  • Married children of United States citizens
  • Brothers and sisters of United States citizens

A U.S. citizen can file the petition on behalf of his/her:

  • Husband, wife, or child under the age of 21
  • An unmarried child over the age of 21
  • Married child of any age
  • Brother or sister if the U.S. citizen is at least 21 years old
  • A parent if the U.S. citizen is at least 21 years
  • Fiancé (K-1 visa)

Under INA 201(b) the U.S. Citizen's spouse, parent or child (under 21) is considered an Immediate Relative, and as such NO preference quota is required. Furthermore, even under the tough new adjustment laws, a United States Citizen may petition for his or her Immediate Relative even if that relative has fallen out of status. However, the immediate relative must have entered the United States legally. Marriage to a U.S. citizen does not afford you immediate lawful status you must file an immigration petition.

A lawful permanent resident can file the petition on behalf of his/her:

  • Husband or wife
  • Unmarried child

A lawful permanent resident cannot file a green card petition for his or her fiancée.

The application process for Family Based Immigration includes submitting a petition to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service or USCIS. The application waiting period will fluctuate, but usually takes several months to several years.

Our managing attorney Karen-Lee Pollak and experienced immigration support team will quickly determine if you are eligible to apply through a family member. We will then submit the most complete and thorough petition possible. In addition, Pollak PLLC knows the processes and procedures to work with various government agencies to ensure the best possible outcome in a timely manner.

A United States citizen must be at least 21 years of age in order to sponsor a relative for immigration.

Our firm provides full-service professional legal advice and representation to help you find an immigration solution to your visa needs. Please contact us to discuss your immigration options by calling (214) 307-5510 or contacting us online at the form below.

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