Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens
Limited Family Based Immigrants
Fiance and Spouse Visas
A United States Permanent Resident or Citizen may sponsor certain relatives to immigrate to the US.
The first step in a United State citizen or permanent resident sponsoring a relative to immigrate to the United States is to file aPetition for Alien Relative. Most sponsors will need to demonstrate adequate income or assets to support the intending immigrant, and accept legal responsibility for financially supporting their family member, by completing and signing a document called an Affidavit of Support. Once this is complete, then the intending immigrant will apply for the immigrant visa as explained below. If your relative does not have the income to qualify as a sponsor, he/she may be able to get a co sponsor or substitute sponsor.
Family based immigration is categorized by the type of family relationship the immigrant has to the U.S Citizen or Permanent Resident sponsor. Whether your relative may sponsor you to immigrate and how long the process will take depend on the relationship you have to the sponsor. It will also depend on your age and marital status.
Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens (IR):
This visa is based on a close family relationship with a U.S. citizen. For immigration purposes, Immediate Relative classifications include:
- Spouse of a U.S. Citizen: If you want to bring your spouse or fiance' to the United States you should go to our Spouse and Fiance' Visa Page.
- Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen;
- Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen;
- Orphan to be adopted in the United States by a U.S. citizen;
- Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years of age.
The methods for approaching the immigration of a family member will vary depending on whether you family member is in the United States or resides in his or her native country. When a relative is outside the United States he or she may adjust through consulate processing or obtain a non immigrant visa and adjust status here in the United States. It is important to consider the alternatives when taking into account the overall cost, timeliness and qualifications of the financial sponsor.
Limited Family Based Immigrants:
This immigrant visa classifications involves specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some specified relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident. Under immigration law, there are fiscal year numerical limitations on family preference immigrants as explained below.
- Family First Preference: Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their children, if any. (23,400)
- Family Second Preference: Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (over age 20) of lawful permanent residents. (114,200) At least seventy-seven percent of all visas available for this category will go to the spouses and children; the remainder will be allocated to unmarried sons and daughters.
- Family Third Preference: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and children. (23,400)
- Family Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of United States citizens, and their spouses and children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age. (65,000)
Note: Grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws and cousins cannot sponsor a relative for immigration.
Consulate Processing takes place when your relative obtains permanent residency at a United States consulate located outside the US and enters the United States as a Permanent Resident. Your relative may also qualify to enter the United States on a visa and adjust status upon arrival. Whether you choose to adjust status in the United States or abroad may make a big difference in the time that you wait to get your green card and in fees and costs. Fiance Visas
A fiance visa is a non immigrant visa for a person the United States Citizen intends to marry within 90 days of their arrival in the United States. The Fiance Visa is an example of a non immigrant visa with the intent to adjust status in the United States once married.
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