Family Visa Options for Immigrants

Family Visa Options for Immigrants

According to the National Immigration Forum, family-based immigration accounts for about 65% of people attempting to immigrate to the US. United States laws allow Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR) to petition a family member which will enable them to apply for a Green Card.

There are two groups of persons who are eligible for family based immigrant visas. We are going to break this down below, so it is easier to understand.

Immediate Relatives

1. Spouses of US Citizens

2. Unmarried children under 21 of US citizens

3. Orphans adopted abroad, parents of US citizens at least 21+

4. Orphans who are to be adopted in the US

Family Preference

1. Unmarried children of US citizens, their spouses, and children

2. Minors and unmarried sons or daughters 21+ of LPRs

3. Married children of US citizens and spouses with minor children

4. Brothers and sisters of US citizens with minors who are 21+

Ineligible Family

1. Grandparents

2. Aunts or Uncles

3. In-laws

4. Cousins

5. Married children of LPRs

6. Anyone else not specifically listed in either the immediate relative or the family preference category.


Each fiscal year, 480,000 visas are made available for the extended family. There isn’t a limit on how many an individual can request, but each one is subtracted from the total number cap that is allowed by Congress annually.

When it comes to the family preference category, 226,000 visas are allocated to this group of family members to ensure immediate family members are not the only ones eligible to immigrate to the US.

Family Visa Requirements

The requirements that have to be met to sponsor family members into the US will include a number of steps and proof of action to petition the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This will consist of screenings and background checks and verification of a legitimate relationship between parties. Sponsors must also provide proof of income as they will be financially responsible for their immigrant family members.

Each individual family members wishing to migrate into the US will be subject to extensive background and security checks as well, which will be looking for criminal records, national security markers, and health-related issues. USCIS will also be looking to establish that the individual will not need public assistance and financial support from government assistance agencies.

After USCIS Approval of Petition

Your application, upon approval, will be eligible to be either be sent to the National Visa Center to start consular processing, or to apply for adjustment of status (and apply in the United States). There is no fast track way to get through this process as it can take years for applicants to be approved by the government.

At Landerholm Immigration, we know the frustration our clients' experience and the level of patience they have to have to get through the Green Card and Visa processes. We are here to support you and try to make this process as clear and straightforward as possible. If you would like legal representation to ensure you can sponsor family members to the US; or if you plan to immigrate to the US with your family and are unsure where to begin, please call our office today. We can also be reached online on our website.

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