Can I bring a family member to the United States?

A U.S. citizen may petition their foreign relatives to immigrate to the U.S. through a Family-Based Immigration Visa, which is divided into two basic categories:

Immediate Relatives – the waiting period is approximately 6-12 months. There is no quota applied, i.e. unlimited number of visas may be issued each year under this category.

Eligibility:

  • Spouse of a U.S. citizen
  • Widows or widowers of U.S. citizens (must have been married to the deceased citizen for at least 2 years, and be widowed within 2 years of applying)
  • Unmarried persons under the age of 21 who have at least one U.S. citizen parent
  • Parents of U.S. citizens, so long as the citizen child is at least 21 years old
  • The adopted children of U.S. citizens, where adoption was formalized before the child turned 16
  • Stepchildren/stepparents of U.S. citizens, as long as the formal relationship began before the 18th birthday of the stepchild

Family Preferences – distributed according to a quota system, which means that only a limited amount of family-based visas may be issued every year. This creates a significant waiting period. The Family Preference category is generally divided into 5 different sub-categories.

2.1. Family 1st Preference: Unmarried foreigners who have at least one U.S. citizen parent

  • Waiting Period: About 2 years for all countries, except Mexico (about 5 years) and the Philippines (about 11 years)
  • Quota: 23,400 visas per year, plus any unused visas leftover from 4th Preference
  • Eligibility: unmarried foreigners who have at least one U.S. citizen parent

2.2. Family 2nd PreferenceSpouses or unmarried children of green card holders

  • Wait Period: 4 years for 2A applicants and 6 years for 2B
  • Quota: 114,200 per year, plus unused 1st Preference visas
  • Eligibility:
    • 2A- Spouses of holders of green cards; unmarried children (under 21 years old) of green card holders
    • 2B- Unmarried children (over 21 years old) of green card holders

2.3. Family 3rd Preference: Married children of citizens

  • Wait Period:  Minimum of 3 years except Mexico (about 5 years) and the Philippines (about 11 years)
  • Quota: 23,400, plus unused visas from 2nd Preference category
  • Eligibility:  Married children of citizens

2.4. Family 4th PreferenceSiblings

  • Wait Period: 10 years for most countries except the Philippines (about 19 years)
  • Quota: 65,000 and any unused 3rd Preference visas
  • Eligibility: Siblings of U.S. citizen (the citizen must be at least 21 years old)

2.5. Family 5th PreferenceFiancé Visa (temporary visa for 90 days)

  • Waiting Period:  up to 8 or 12 months
  • Quota: None
  • Eligibility: Fiancés of U.S. citizens

Please consult with an immigration attorney. If you would like to get more information about Family Based immigration visas, please feel free to contact us at 206-838-8118.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Posted in Blog, Blog, Immigration.