What Is Family Based Immigration?
Family based immigration is when a U.S. family member is the petitioner who wants to bring a foreign national family member in to the country.
What Constitutes Family When It Comes To A Family Based Immigration Visa?
A family based immigration visa has multiple categories. First, immediate relatives, which would be your spouse, parents, or a child under the age of 21.
Additional categories include:
- unmarried sons or daughters of a U.S. citizen, who is 21 years of age or older;
- spouses and unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents;
- married sons and daughters of US citizens; and
- Siblings of U.S. citizens.
The family based immigrant categories generally encompasses your entire family. No family member who is an extended family member can be petitioned for directly, however, which excludes grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Who Is Eligible To Apply For A Family Based Immigration Visa?
In family based immigration, you have a petitioner and a beneficiary. Generally, the U.S. citizen or the lawful permanent resident of the United States is asking for their relative to come into the country. That’s the first step in the immigration process. Any U.S. citizen or permanent resident is eligible to request an immigrant visa on behalf of their parent, spouse, child, or sibling.
Who Is Eligible To Be A Sponsor?
A U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder) is eligible to be a sponsor.
What Is A Fiancé Visa?
A fiancé visa is when a U.S. citizen wants to bring a fiancé, who’s a foreign national and not a citizen or permanent resident of United States, into the country. They can bring that person on a fiancé visa, pre-marriage, and then the fiancé can come to the United States and must marry the U.S. citizen within 90 days of arrival. They also must file an application for adjustment of status after the marriage.
What Process Does Someone Need To Go Through In Obtaining A Family Based Immigration Visa?
If I’m a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident and I want to petition for someone who is not in the United States, the first step is to process an immigrant visa, which is call a Petition for Alien Relative. Once the petition is filed and approved, that approval notice is sent out to the State Department. Then, the State Department processes the case for an immigrant visa. The foreign national will go to the US consulate abroad and apply for an immigrant visa.
If approved, they will obtain an immigrant visa and are able to enter the United States, where they obtain their green card. If the relative is already in the United States and they’re eligible, they can file the Petition for Alien Relative along with an Adjustment of Status from within the United States.
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