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Family-Based Visas: Common Questions

There are countless individuals who wish to bring their families over to the United States from a different country. Family-based visas are granted to individuals that hold close familial relationships with a current U.S. citizen that is able to sponsor them. Some of these visas are in short supply and are only available to a limited amount of people every year. Below, we’ve answered some of the most common questions concerning family visas, as well as how we may be able to help your case.

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Who Can Be Sponsored?

Before getting started on the application process, it is important to understand who exactly can be given these visas. There are also different rules based on whether you are a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR).

United States citizens can petition to sponsor anyone in their immediate family, mainly their:

  • Spouse
  • Child
  • Parent
  • Sibling

Adversely, Lawful Permanent Residents are only able to sponsor their spouse or unmarried child.

Are Visas Limited in Number?

Yes and no. There are two main types of visas that can be petitioned for that either U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents can pursue.

  • Immediate family visas are reserved for close relatives of U.S. citizens. These visas are not limited to a certain number per year.
  • Family preference visas are available for more distant relatives of U.S.citizens and certain specified relatives of Lawful Permanent Residents. These visas are limited to a certain number each fiscal year, and the amount given cannot exceed a total of 480,000.

What is the “Preference System?”

The preference system categories for other family members who fall outside of the categories that are eligible to apply for a green card.

There are 5 preferences:

  • First preference (F1): reserved for unmarried children, over the age of 21, of U.S. citizens
  • Second preference (F2A): reserved for spouses and children, unmarried and under the age of 21, of Lawful Permanent Residents
  • Second preference (F2B): reserved for unmarried children, over the age of 21, of Lawful Permanent Residents
  • Third preference (F3): reserved for married children of U.S. citizens
  • Fourth preference (F4): reserved for siblings of U.S. citizens, over the age of 21

How Long Does the Process Take?

The process to sponsor your family member for a green card can take anywhere from months to years depending on factors such as how long it takes to gather the proper documentation, who you wish to sponsor, and how backlogged the various number of U.S. government offices are.

If you are the immediate relative of the individual you are sponsoring, visas are immediately available, and the wait is controlled by you, your relative, and government agencies. If your relative is part of a preference category, there are typically long waitlists, as these visas are limited every year, and can take anywhere from no time at all to even 24 years depending on the preference category.

How We Can Help

For those unfamiliar with the United States immigration system, the process can be extremely confusing when attempting to wade through all of the paperwork and talk to the proper agencies.

We can also help you prepare and fill out the Petition for an Alien Relative (Form I-130), which citizens and lawful permanent residents must submit on most occasions. This can help save you both time and stress, as any mistakes or errors within the application can lead to immediate rejection.

Contact our Sherman Oaks Immigration Team Today

At Zadykyan Law, our immigration lawyers in Sherman Oaks understand how important family is to you, and we are committed to doing everything we can to help you find success. With a free consultation and highly flexible communication options, we aim to make the family sponsorship process as easy and effortless as possible.

If you are looking to gain a visa for a relative, do not hesitate to contact us today through our website or give us a call at (818) 600-6322 for a complimentary consultation to discuss your case! Services are available in Russian!