Family-based immigration is a category of immigration that allows U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) to sponsor certain family members for immigration to the United States. This pathway enables family unity by allowing eligible individuals to reunite with their loved ones and build a new life together in the United States.
Types of Family-Based Visas:
- Immediate Relative Visas: Immediate relative visas are unlimited in number and are available to the closest relatives of U.S. citizens. The following relationships qualify as immediate relatives:
- Spouses of U.S. citizens
- Unmarried children under 21 years of age of U.S. citizens
- Parents of U.S. citizens (if the petitioner is at least 21 years old)
Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens have priority in the family-based immigration system, and there are no annual limits on the number of visas available for these categories.
- Family Preference Visas: Family preference visas are available to more distant relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. There are four preference categories:
- F1: Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their minor children.
- F2: Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age or older) of lawful permanent residents.
- F3: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children.
- F4: Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children, provided the U.S. citizen petitioner is at least 21 years old.
Family preference visas have annual numerical limits, which means that there is a limited number of visas available each year for each category. As a result, there may be waiting periods before a visa becomes available in some preference categories.
The sponsorship process for family-based immigration typically involves the following steps:
- Petition Filing: The U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident sponsor files a petition (Form I-130) on behalf of the intending immigrant family member with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petition establishes the relationship between the sponsor and the beneficiary and initiates the immigration process.
- Visa Availability: Immediate relative visas do not have annual numerical limits, so visa availability is not a concern. However, family preference visas may be subject to visa backlogs, and the beneficiary may need to wait until a visa becomes available in their respective category.
- Visa Processing: Once a visa becomes available, the intending immigrant family member can apply for an immigrant visa through consular processing if they are outside the United States or apply for adjustment of status if they are already present in the United States.
- Consular Processing: If the beneficiary is outside the United States, they will attend an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country to complete the visa process. This includes undergoing medical examinations, submitting required documents, and demonstrating eligibility for immigration.
- Adjustment of Status: If the beneficiary is already in the United States, they can file for adjustment of status (Form I-485) with USCIS. This process allows them to change their immigration status to that of a lawful permanent resident without leaving the country.
- Immigration Visa Issuance: Upon approval of the visa application or adjustment of status, the beneficiary will receive their immigrant visa or green card, granting them lawful permanent resident status in the United States.
Family-based immigration can be complex, and it is important to have proper legal guidance throughout the process. The Law Office of Ghenadie Rusu is here to assist you with your family-based immigration needs, ensuring that you have the support and expertise necessary to navigate the system successfully.
- Petition Preparation: Our attorneys will assist you in preparing and filing the necessary immigration petitions (Form I-130) on behalf of your family members. We will ensure that all forms are completed accurately, supporting documentation is gathered, and the petitions are submitted within the required timelines.
- Visa Availability Monitoring: For family preference categories, we will closely monitor visa availability and provide you with updates on the progress of your case. We understand the importance of staying informed about visa backlogs and will guide you through the waiting period until a visa becomes available.
- Consular Processing: If your family member is outside the United States, our attorneys will guide you through the consular processing phase. We will prepare you and your family member for the visa interview, assist in gathering the necessary documents, and provide guidance on the medical examination and other requirements.
- Adjustment of Status: If your family member is already present in the United States, we will help them apply for adjustment of status (Form I-485). Our attorneys will guide you through the process, ensuring that all required forms and supporting documentation are submitted accurately and within the specified timelines.
- Documentation and Evidence Compilation: Family-based immigration requires the submission of various supporting documents to establish the familial relationship. Our attorneys will assist you in compiling the necessary documentation, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and other evidence of family ties, to strengthen your case.
- Communication and Representation: Throughout the entire process, our attorneys will maintain open communication with you and provide regular updates on the progress of your case. We will represent your interests before USCIS, consular officers, and other relevant authorities, advocating for the timely processing of your family-based immigration applications.
Contact the Law Office of Ghenadie Rusu today to schedule a consultation and discuss your family-based immigration needs. Our attorneys are here to guide you through the process and help you build a brighter future with your loved ones in the United States.