The Basics of Family-Based Immigration

Family-based immigration provides guidelines for certain U.S. citizens and legal permanent resident to sponsor their foreign-born family members.There are two ways family-based immigrants can be admitted to the United States:

  1. Through the family preference system
  2. As an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen

To the second point, immediate relative visas are not subject to numerical limitation. Immediate relatives are defined as the following:

  • Spouses of U.S. citizens
  • Parents of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years of age
  • Unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of U.S. citizens
  • Orphans adopted by U.S. citizens

Conversely, the following visas granted through the family preference system are subject to numerical limitations:

  • First Preference: Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children, if any
  • Second Preference: Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of legal permanent residents
  • Third Preference: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children
  • Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age.

The best way to determine your eligibility is to contact Belmonte Law Firm. We can schedule a free consultation with an immigration attorney to discuss your situation and figure out your next steps.