Family-Based Immigration: Visas for Immediate Relatives

If you are a foreign national who wishes to live and work permanently in America, you may become a lawful Permanent Resident through family-based immigration.

If you are an immediate relative of a United States Citizen, your relative may file an immigration petition (Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative) on your behalf with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Your relative (the petitioner) must be a U.S Citizen, age 21 or older, before he can file a petition on your behalf (the beneficiary).

An immediate relative is classified as a:

  • Spouse
  • Parent
  • Unmarried child under the age of 21

As an immediate relative, a visa number will be immediately provided to you by the U.S. Department of State’s National Visa Center.

Once the beneficiary receives notice from the National Visa Center when his or her visa number is assigned, then she/he will be notified to appear at a U.S. embassy or consulate in his or her native country to complete the visa processing.

Immigrant Visas and Priority Dates for Preference Category Relatives

Although visas for immediate relatives are unlimited, all non-immediate relatives fall under USCIS “Preference Categories.” The amount of immigrant visa numbers available to non-immediate relatives is subject to U.S. immigration quotas. Extended family members may have to wait many years to obtain an immigrant visa.

During the immigration visa process, the date your family immigration petition was filed is called the “priority date.” Your relative becomes eligible for a visa if his or her priority date falls on or before the date listed in the visa bulletin, which is published monthly by the U.S. Department of State.

Preference Categories:

  • First Preference – Adult, unmarried sons/daughters of U.S. Citizens, age 21 or older
  • Second Preference – 1) spouses; unmarried children under 21; 2) unmarried sons/daughters (ages 21 or over) of Lawful Permanent Residents
  • Third Preference – Married sons/daughters (of any age) of U.S. Citizen
  • Fourth Preference – Brothers/Sisters of U.S. Citizen

Visa approval can take time. At the George McCranie Law Firm, our Georgia visa attorneys will work closely with U.S. embassies and consulates around the world to streamline the process.

Call us today at 912-383-7581 to make an appointment to talk to an attorney about petitioning for a loved one to join you in the United States.