Family Visas to the US
A family visa may be your ticket to the United States, if you have a relative who is a US citizen or legal permanent resident, and they are eligible to sponsor you for permanent residency.
The family sponsorship visa application is a multi-step process, and depending on case, may involve long wait times.
Use our free assessment tool and choose 'US Family Sponsorship' to determine your eligibility.
Which family members are eligible?
Spouses and civil partners, and minor, unmarried and dependent children are considered close relatives. Applicants in this category are not subject to any quota system or waiting period.
More distantly related relatives of US Green Card holders and US citizens may also be possible subject to various limitations, and potentially long waits. The requirements for each category differ, and your options will only be determined on the basis of your particular circumstances.
US Immigration for immediate relatives
There is no limit on the number of visas available for immediate relatives. However, petitioners must meet certain age and financial requirements.
Immediate relatives include:
- Spouses of U.S. citizens;
- Unmarried minor children of U.S. citizens (under 21 years old);
- Parents of U.S. citizens (petitioner must be at least 21 years old to petition for a parent);
US Immigration for more distant relatives
There are a limited number of visas available every year under the family preference system, where again petitioners must meet certain age and financial requirements. The preference system includes applicants who are:
- Adult children (married and unmarried) and brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (petitioner must be at least 21 years old to petition for a sibling); and
- Spouses and unmarried children (minor and adult) of LPRs.
Why the Wait?
In order to balance the overall number of immigrants arriving based on family relationships, Congress established a complicated system for calculating the available number of family preference visas in any given year.
The number of family preference visas is determined by subtracting from 480,000 the number of immediate relative visas issued during the previous year and the number of aliens “paroled” into the U.S. during the previous year.
Any unused employment preference immigrant numbers from the preceding year are then added to this sum to establish the number of visas that remain for allocation through the preference system. By law, however, the number of family-based visas allocated through the preference system may not be lower than 226,000. Consequently, the total number of family-based visas often exceeds 480,000.
In order to be admitted through the family preference system, a U.S. citizen or LPR sponsor must petition for an individual relative (and establish the legitimacy of the relationship), meet minimum income requirements and sign an affidavit of support stating that they will be financially responsible for their family member(s) upon arrival in the United States.
Name: US Immigration Family Visas
Description: The USA allows partners and other family members to join their loved ones in the USA under certain conditions. Even when there is a clear case under law these cases are often hard fought and won against a challenging border control policy. We suggest you seek the assistance of US Immigration lawyer to be certain of winning your case.