Immigration USA: Understanding Family Based Immigration

By March 12, 2020Immigration Law Blog
immigration USA

When it comes to immigration, USA immigration authorities allow for a variety of immigration options. Today we’re talking about just one of those options – family-based immigration.

Immigration USA: Understanding Family-Based Immigration

There are many options for immigrants seeking residency in the United States, a family-based immigration visa is just one option, but one we’re going to take a closer look at today.

What is a Family-Based Immigration Visa?

A family-based immigration visa is a visa that allows foreign resident family members of a U.S. citizen to come to the U.S. legally. There are two types of family-based immigration visas available – immediate relative immigration visas and family preference immigration visas.

Immediate Relative Immigration Visa

This is a visa that is available to immediate family members of a U.S. citizen. This type of visa is divided into various classifications based on the relationship between the U.S citizen and the family member.

  • The IR-1 visa is for a foreign national spouse of a U.S. citizen.
  • The IR2 visa is for children of a US citizen who are foreign nationals, unmarried, and under the age of 21.
  • The IR-3 visa is for a foreign national orphan who has been adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen.
  • The IR-4 visa is for a foreign national orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen.
  • The IR-5 visa is for a foreign national parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least age 21.

There is no limit to the number of family-based immigration visas that are available each year.

Family Preference Immigration Visas

The family preference immigration visa is available to more extended family members of U.S. citizens. Like the immediate relative immigration visa, this visa is available in different categories. There is a limit on the number of family preference immigration visas that are made available each year.

  • The F1 visa is for unmarried children of U.S. citizens and for their minor children if they have them. This visa is limited to 23,400 issued per fiscal year.
  • The F2 visa is for the spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters aged 21 and over of U.S. legal permanent residents. This visa is limited to 114,200 per fiscal year, 77% of which are granted to spouses and children.
  • The F3 visa is available to married sons and daughters of U.S.citizens and their spouses and minor children. This visa is limited to 23,400 per fiscal year.
  • The F4 visa is available to brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children under the age of 21. This visa is limited to 65,000 per fiscal year.

Family-Based Immigration FAQS

Q: Can a permanent resident apply for a green card for a non-resident sibling?

A: No. A permanent resident may not apply for a green card for a sibling without first becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Q: Can a child born in the U.S. who is a U.S. citizen petition for their parents to get green cards?

A: The answer to this depends. If the child is 21 years old or older, then they may petition for their parents’ green cards. If the child is under age 21, they may not petition for their parents’ green card until they are 21 years old.

Q: Can a U.S. permanent resident sponsor their stepchild for Permanent Residency?

A: Yes. A U.S. resident may sponsor their stepchild for permanent residency so long as the child became the resident’s stepchild before the child was 18 years old.

Q: Are there limitations on a U.S. citizen getting their non-resident spouse a green card if they were only married recently?

A: Yes. If a U.S. citizen marries a non-U.S. citizen within 2 years or less before they are admitted into the country as a permanent resident, they will be issued a conditional green card. A conditional green card is a security measure put in place to prevent marriages of convenience. To remove the conditions on residency, both spouses must apply to have the conditions removed from residency 90 days before the two year anniversary of the receipt of the conditional green card. If there is no application made to remove the conditions on the conditional green card at this time, the conditional green card will be revoked. The revocation of the green card means that the foreign national spouse is no longer able to live in the U.S. legally.

Q: What is needed for a U.S. citizen to apply for permanent residency for a family member?

A: For a U.S. citizen to apply for permanent residency for a foreign national family member, they must provide proof of their U.S. citizenship and proof of their qualifying relationship with the foreign national family member. The U.S. citizen must also offer proof of employment and financial documentation including tax forms and bank statements. The foreign national family member must be able to provide their passport, photos of themselves, and complete a medical examination.

In some instances, other documentation may be requested, but this depends on the specific situation.

Q: Can a U.S. citizen bring their foreign national spouse to the U.S. while waiting for permanent residency to be granted?

A: Yes, once the petition for permanent residency is pending, a U.S. citizen can apply for a nonimmigrant K-3 Visa. This visa will allow a foreign national spouse to enter the U.S. to live and work while their application for a visa is processing.

In Need of Immigration USA Help?

If you are in need of immigration USA help and live in or around Pasadena, California, Nelson Immigration can help! To arrange for a consultation to see how we can help you, call our office today at 877-466-4452