Each year thousands of family members immigrate to the United States based on petitions filed by family members. There are two groups of family based immigrant visa categories- immediate relatives and family preference categories.
The category of immediate relatives includes spouses of citizens, children (under 21 years of age and unmarried) of U.S. citizens, and parents of U.S. citizens, who are 21 years of age or older.
All other family members who do not qualify as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens fall into different preference categories. There are four preference categories as follows:
(a) first preference includes unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens who are 21 or older);
(b) second preference is comprised of spouses and unmarried children (under 21 years) of permanent residents (2A) and unmarried sons and daughters who are 21 or older of permanent residents. (2B);
(c) third preference includes married sons and daughter of U.S. citizens;
(d) and the fourth preference category includes brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, who are older than 21.
While immediate relatives are not subject to numerical limitations and immigrant visas are always available to them, the law sets annual numerical limitations for each family preference category. When the number of applicants in a category exceeds the available immigrant visas for this category, there will be an immigration wait. Then, the available immigrant visas will be issued in the chronological order in which the petitions were filed. Thus, the date on which the petition was filed, also called the ‚Äúpriority date‚ÄĚ, will determine when the applicant will be issued an immigrant visa. Beneficiary of an approved visa petition can apply for a green card either through consular processing overseas at the U.S. embassy or consulate that has jurisdiction over the residence of the beneficiary or, if the beneficiary is already in the United States and meet all requirements, by filing an Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status (Form I-485).
Contact Law Offices of Paul Marinov to discuss how we can help you in any area of family-based immigration.