Family Preference Categories for US immigration

Family preference categoriesIn order for a foreign national to obtain US permanent residence, they need to have a legitimate reason to come to the US, such as for employment, to start and invest in a business, or if they have family in the country.

You cannot simply purchase a piece of residential real estate and apply for a permanent visa or green card solely on that basis.

Family petitions allow a US citizen or permanent resident to apply for permanent residence (green cards) for certain family members. The length of time it will take for the application to be processed and granted is dependent on which “family preference category” the application falls under.

Immigration family preference categories are based on two criteria: the legal status of the petitioner (US citizens or permanent resident) and the relationship between the petitioner and the applicant.

The United States Customs and Immigration Service states the following policy when it comes to green cards for family members of US citizens and permanent residents:

Some relatives of US citizens, known as immediate relatives, do not have to wait for a visa to become available. There is no limit to the number of visas that can be utilized in this category in a particular year. Immediate relatives include:

  • Parents of a US citizen
  • Spouses of a US citizen
  • Unmarried children under the age of 21 of a US citizen

Note: US citizens must be at least 21 years old to apply for their parents.

The qualified relatives of a US citizen or permanent resident in the remaining family-based categories may have to wait for a visa to become available before they can apply for permanent residency. These categories include:

  • First Preference: Unmarried, adult (21 years of age or older) sons and daughters of US citizens
  • Second Preference A: Spouses of permanent residents and the unmarried children (under the age of 21)) of permanent residents
  • Second Preference B: Unmarried sons and daughters (21 years or age or older) of permanent residents
  • Third Preference: Married sons and daughters of US citizens, their spouses and their minor children
  • Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult US citizens, their spouses and their minor children

If you are a US citizen or permanent resident who wants to apply for a green card for a family member, then contact Boyer Law Firm, P.L.’s immigration attorneys today.

Source: USCIS

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