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Family-Based Immigration

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

Immigration law is a complicated and delicate set of legal regulations, accompanied by a myriad of manuals and administrative memoranda. It is a maze that is difficult to navigate, especially for those who do not have experience in this area of law. The part of immigration law that concerns family immigration isn’t any different. This is especially true due to the fact that the complex nature of immigration law increases as political pressures, administrative changes and availability, and other components change and evolve.

The importance of family has long been a pillar of society as Americans. This is evident in the history of the country, the beliefs by which the Founding Fathers established the constitution, and the political philosophy that is reflected in the actions of the U.S. Congress. Bringing families together is considered, in the eyes of Congress, as being one of the most significant elements and functions of immigration law. As a result, members of a family that are U.S. Citizens (USCs) and Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) have certain privileges within the U.S. immigration system. The privileges are divided into the following important categories:

  • First preference (F1) – unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age and older) of U.S. citizens;

  • Second preference (F2A) – Spouses and children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of lawful permanent residents;

  • Second preference (F2B) – unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age and older) of lawful permanent residents;

  • Third preference (F3) – married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens; and

  • Fourth preference (F4) – Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years of age and older).

General Procedures

In cases where the beneficiary is applying through a direct relative high in the preference category list, applicants who are United States citizens or lawful permanent residents must first fill out the “I-130 Application” to apply for the Alien Related category at the Bureau of U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services. This form must be accompanied by documentation of the applicant’s United States immigration status and evidence of the connection between the applicant and the beneficiary. The person requesting, a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident, must demonstrate that they can provide for their relative at least at a rate of 125% over the poverty threshold. In the event that they are unable to prove that the United States citizen or lawful permanent resident can meet the criteria for financial support, they would be required to have the help of a joint sponsor, or their assets considered.

Once approval of the “I-130 Application” in the case of an Alien Relative has been received, the Department of State will decide whether an immigrant visa is available to the applicant. Immigrant visas are generally available to people belonging to the immediate family category. However, those in the preferred categories can apply for an immigration visa to another country when a visa number becomes available.

In cases where the applicant on the I-130 Application for Alien Relationship resides in the United States, they may be eligible to file the I-485 application to register as a permanent resident or adjust their Status at the Bureau of U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services. In cases where the applicant is located outside of the USA and wants to adjudicate the Immigration Visa petition in a U.S. Consulates, it will likely be forwarded by the U.S. Consulate in the country of the beneficiary’s residency or citizenship at the time of I-130 submission. It is important to note that in the event of a preference for an immediate relative petition, the consulate won’t decide until an immigrant visa is immediately available to the applicant. A visa for immigration becomes accessible when the priority date by the I-130 Approval Notice (USCIS form I-797) is changed to current.

Find Assistance

If you need assistance with family-based immigration, Our group of experts at Kamal Law Firm is here to assist you. Our immigration firm is committed to providing strategic and devoted advocacy to those seeking a life in this nation. We will assist you throughout this process to ensure as high of a success rate as possible.



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