The Mathews & Peddibhotla Law Group has extensive experience in successfully bringing foreign family members to the U.S. through its Family Based Immigration practice.
U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR’s) can sponsor certain family members to immigrate (become a permanent resident) to the U.S. “Family-based” green cards are only available to qualifying family members. The availability depends on whether the relative in the United States is a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident and the type of family relationship with the foreign relative.
U.S. Immigration law divides foreign relatives into two groups: Immediate Relatives and Preference Category Relatives.
Visas for Immediate Relative are immediately available and there is no limit on the number given each year which means that your family member does not need to wait in line for a visa.
Immediate Relatives include:
- Spouse of a U.S. Citizen
- Child of a U.S. Citizen (Under 21 and unmarried)
- Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old
- Note that only U.S. citizens can sponsor their parents. There is no option for Lawful Permanent Residents to sponsor their parents.
Preference Category Relatives
There are a limited number of visa numbers available in each preference category. For this reason, some categories have wait times for available visas of more than 10 years.
Preference Category Relatives include:
First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.
Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:
- (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;
- (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents: 23% of the overall second preference limitation.
Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.
Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.
The Petition Process:
Sponsored family members can either:
- Adjust Status to Permanent Residence if they have a lawful admission and are in the U.S.; or
- Consular Process for an Immigrant Visa and then enter the U.S. as Permanent Residents.
Affidavit of Support
U.S. Immigrations Laws require evidence that the intending immigrant will not become a “public charge.” This requirement is typically satisfied by the filing of an Affidavit of Support by the petitioning U.S. Citizen or LPR backed by evidence that the Petitioner can support the intending immigrant above the poverty guidelines. In some instance, a co-sponsor(s) may be required.