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The ins and outs of family immigration

For United State citizens and permanent residents, the next step in your immigration process may be to help your family come to the country as well. Family members of U.S. citizens and green card holders may be eligible for sponsorship to become permanent residents through a family-based immigration process.

Different relatives qualify for different types of sponsorship, so it’s important to know your options in helping a family member move to the U.S. Government-issue visa programs prioritize certain relationships for sponsorship which means some relatives may experience a different process than others.

Priorities for family immigration

The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services prioritizes immediate family members for entry into the country. There is currently no quota on the allotment of immediate family visas per year, which means the government approves applications as they come in regardless of the present number of applicants and distributed visas.

Immediate family members, as classified by the USCIS, include spouses or the same or opposite sex, unmarried children under age 21, parents of citizens over age 21 and orphans adopted in the U.S. or abroad.

Family members outside of immediate relationships receive visas based on a limited number allotted each fiscal year. The government programs prioritize these additional relatives based on a level of preference and the filing date of their Form I-130 application. The order of preference is:

  • First Preference: Adult sons and daughters over age 21 who are unmarried
  • Second Preference: Spouses and unmarried children younger than 21 of permanent residents (as opposed to U.S. citizens who are immediate relatives)
  • Third Preference: Married offspring of U.S. citizens, no matter the age
  • Fourth Preference: Siblings of U.S. citizens

These relatives enter a wait list based on their preference level and filing date. Some applicants may wait months or years for a visa depending on the overall number of applications and the allotment of visas each year.

Navigating U.S. immigration processes

Immigration to the U.S. can be a long, convoluted process even for relatives in priority positions. To ensure your family members successfully make it through the immigration system, utilize expert resources to receive legal advice and assistance throughout this period.

Additional complications may arise, such as criminal activity or changes in immigration law and policy. Skilled immigration law professionals can navigate these challenges with the means to provide counsel and care while helping reunite families in the U.S.

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Berke Law Offices, Inc.

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Berke Law Offices, Inc.
21911 Sherman Way
Canoga Park, CA 91303

Phone: 818-647-1002
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