If one member of your family is a citizen or, in some cases, a legal permanent resident of the United States, others want to follow. For individuals who have paved the way to America, the family-based visa program is likely of special interest. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, there are two groups of family-based visas that those seeking to enter the United States with a close family connection may fall into. These two groups are defined as immediate relatives and preferred family members.
Who qualifies as an immediate relative?
Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens have significant advantages in pursuing immigration. There is a special classification of visas and an unlimited supply of those visas for this classification of applicants. However, the term “immediate relative,” as defined by the United States government for the purpose of immigration, applies to a select few. This select few includes spouses, unmarried minor children, orphans that have been or are in the process of being adopted by a citizen and the parents of an adult citizen.
Who qualifies as preferred family?
Family preference visas facilitate a wider definition of family. However, this type of visa can include a long road to acceptance. This is because only a limited number of this type of visas are issued per year. Once that amount is reached, all other applicants are placed on an extensive waitlist. For this reason, the date on which your family applies is highly important. It determines your place on the waitlist. But first, who qualifies as preferred?
- Unmarried adult children of citizens and their children (first preference)
- Spouses, minor kids, and unmarried adult children of Lawful Permanent Residents (second preference)
- Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, as well as their spouses and children (third preference)
- Brothers or sisters of citizens, as well as their spouses and children (fourth preference)
Who does not qualify at all for a family-based visa?
You may think that you should be able to sponsor any member of your family. Unfortunately, only the relationships above qualify. This means that grandparents and other more distant relatives will have to apply for immigration through other means.