Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, there are two visa categories for bringing family-based immigrants into the U.S.: IR visas and Family Preference Immigrant Visas. If you are a U.S. citizen, understanding more about the process helps you prepare for bringing both close and distant family members into the country.
The Immediate Relative Immigrant Visa category, listed as IR, is for close relatives of U.S. citizens. These unlimited visas are for a spouse, an unmarried child under the age of 21, the parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21, or an orphan who is either adopted abroad or will undergo the adoption process in the U.S.
Family Preference visas
Limited Family Preference Immigrant Visas are for specific but more distant relationships of U.S. citizens. The listings are Family First Preference through Family Fourth Preference visas. They start with married or unmarried sons or daughters along with their minor children and end with brothers and sisters along with their minor children.
The priority date
A wait occurs when the number of applicants is greater than the number of visas available. In this case, the government issues available visas in the order in which petitions were filed. The date of petition filing is the priority date, and there will be a waiting period, possibly of several years, before the applicant reaches his or her priority date.
The family-related visa petition may come through a U.S. embassy or consulate in the applicant’s home country. Your attorney can prepare the paperwork and remove any obstacles standing in the way of petition approval.
Coming to America
The United States encourages immigrants to settle in our country, especially when those coming strengthen the family unit. However, the immigration rules are strict, and you must follow them. Explore your legal options and learn more about the process as you prepare to bring family members to the U.S.