Family Based Immigration
Each year thousands of U.S. citizens and/or Lawful Permanent Residents (Green Card holders) file immigrant visa applications (Green Card application) to sponsor their family members and bring them to the United States as Permanent Resident.
While a U.S. citizen can file an immigrant visa petition for a spouse, son or daughter, parent and brother or sister, a Lawful Permanent Resident can file an immigrant visa petition only for a spouse and/or unmarried son or daughter. Note: Grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and cousins cannot sponsor a relative for immigration.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides family members two primary paths to Permanent Resident Status: through Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing. Adjustment of status is the process by which family members who are already in the United States and can get Permanent Resident Status (a Green Card) without having to return to their home country to complete visa processing. Consular Processing is an alternate process for family members outside the United States (or who is in the United States but is ineligible to adjust status) to obtain a visa abroad and enter the United States as a Permanent Resident).
We help with all types of family based visa and/or green card applications in the following categories:
- Green Card for Immediate Relatives of U.S. citizens (see below)
- Green Card through family preference categories for U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (see below)
- Removal of condition I-751
- Adjustment of Status
- Consular processing
- Green Card for wife or husband
- Green Card for brother or sister
- Green Card for parents
- K-1 visas (for fiancées)
- K-3 visas (for spouses)
- Family-based waivers of inadmissibility
Green Card for an Immediate Relative of a U.S. Citizen
These visa types are based on a close family relationship with a United States (U.S.) citizen described as an Immediate Relative (IR). The number of immigrants in these categories is not limited each fiscal year. Immediate relative visa types include:
- Spouse of a U.S. citizen
- Unmarried child under 21 years of age of a U.S. citizen
- Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen
- Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen
- Parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old
Green Card for a Family Member of a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident
Family Preference Immigrant Visas (Limited): These visa types are for specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some specified relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). There are fiscal year numerical limitations on family preference immigrants, shown at the end of each category. The family preference categories are:
- First (F1): Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens and their minor children, if any (23,400).
- Second (F2): Spouses, Minor Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters (age 21 and over) of LPR. At least seventy-seven percent of all visas available for this category will go to the spouses and children (F2A); the remainder is allocated to unmarried sons and daughters (F2B). (114,200).
- (F2A) Spouses and Children of LPR: Permanent Residents: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;
- (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of LPR.
- Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens and their spouses and minor children (23,400).
- Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens, and their spouses and minor children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age (65,000).
Fiance (K-1) Nonimmigrant Visa
The fiancé(e) K-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) of a United States (U.S.) citizen. The K-1 visa permits the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) to travel to the United States and marry his or her U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. The foreign-citizen will then apply for adjustment of status to a permanent resident (LPR) with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Because a fiancé(e) visa permits the holder to immigrate to the U.S. and marry a U.S. citizen shortly after arrival in the United States, the fiancé(e) must meet some of the requirements of an immigrant visa. Eligible children of K-1 visa applicants receive K-2 visas.
Green Card through special categories of famliy
You may be able to become a permanent resident (get a green card) through a special family situation. These adjustment of status programs are limited to individuals who meet particular qualifications and/or apply during certain time frames.
- Battered Spouse or Child (VAWA)
- Person Born to a Foreign Diplomat in the United States
- V Nonimmigrant
- Widow(er) of a U.S. Citizen