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Family Based Immigration

Baret Law Group > Immigration Services > Family Based Immigration


The American Immigration Council has stated that, “the concept of family reunification is deeply rooted in American values.” It is because of this and the provisions of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, that the U.S. immigration system has become fairly family-oriented.

Though the complexity of the US immigration laws may appear daunting, with the help of the trusted and experienced lawyers of Elan I. Baret, P.A , they can actually be made quite comprehensible.

The family based immigration system can be divided into two basic categories.

The immigration of:

  • Family of U.S. citizens
  • Family of lawful permanent residents (LPRs)/Green Card Holders

U.S. citizens may sponsor the immigration for the following relatives:

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried Children under 21 years old
  • Sons and Daughters married and/or 21 years or older
  • Parents
  • Siblings

Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) may sponsor the immigration of the following relatives:

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried children under 21 years old
  • Unmarried sons and daughters 21 years or older

The process is as follows:

First, the sponsoring relative will file a Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) with the USCIS, where the relationship between the sponsor and the relative will be determined.

  • If the petition is for an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, that relative will not have to wait for visa ability and immediately qualifies for a Green Card.
  • If the petition is for other family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, or immediate relatives of lawful permanent residents, then they will be subject to a waiting period due to the annual numerical limitations on visa allotment. The waiting period will depend on when the form was filed and which category of preference the relative falls in.

The preference categories are:

  • First Preference: unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (adult means 21 or older)
  • Second Preference (2A): Spouses of Green Card holders, unmarried children (under 21) of permanent residents
  • Second Preference (2B): Unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents
  • Third Preference: Married sons and daughters (any age) of U.S. citizens
  • Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens

Immediate Relatives

Fiancées and Spouses

K-1 Fiancé of a US Citizen:

K-1 visas allow foreign fiancées of U.S. citizens to enter the United States and marry the US citizens, within 90 days of their entry into the country. Once married to a U.S. citizen, the foreign national can apply for an “adjustment of status” and become a lawful permanent resident.

K-2 Child of a K-1:

K-2 visas are for the minor children of K-1 visa holders. They will be eligible for K-2 visas in order to accompany their K-1 parents into the U.S.

K-3 Spouse of a US citizen:

K-3 visas allow foreign citizen spouses of U.S. citizens to come into the U.S. and pursue applications to become lawful permanent residents of the United States.

K-4 Child of a K-3:

K-4 visas are for the children of those visa holders with K-3 visas.

Preference Petitions

First Preference- Unmarried Sons and Daughters of US Citizen Parents

The F-1 visa category is for unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old. They will have to wait for their priority date before applying for adjustment of status if they already reside in the US. If they are residing abroad then they must wait to apply for consular processing until their priority date.

Second Preference A- Spouse and Unmarried Children Below 21 of Lawful Permanent Residents

The F-2A visa category encompasses the immediate family members of lawful permanent residents. This would include the spouses and unmarried children( under 21 years old) of lawful permanent residents.

Second Preference B- Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Lawful Permanent Residents

The F-2B visa category is for the unmarried sons and daughters who are 21 years old or older, or lawful permanent residents

Third Preference – Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizen Parents

The F-3 visa category includes the married children of U.S. citizens. It could also include the spouses of these married children, and their unmarried children, under 21 years old.

Fourth Preference – Siblings of U.S. Citizens

The F-4 visa category is for siblings of U.S. citizens and their spouses and children under 21 years old.

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