Family Unification is an important principle governing immigration policy in the United States. The family-based immigration category allows U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Resident’s to petition certain family members. Family based immigrants are admitted as immediate relatives of U.S citizens or through the family preference system.
Immediate relative of a U.S citizen:
- 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)
Family Preference System:
- Adult children (married and unmarried) and brothers/sisters of U.S. citizens; and
- Spouses and unmarried children (minor and adult) of legal permanent residents
For the family preference system, because there is a quota system, the amount of time it will take for your relative to become a legal permanent resident will depend on the category he is in. If you have a question about whether you can sponsor your family member, contact our offices for a free consultation.
In addition, family-based immigration law allows the following to apply for admission:
- Fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen or the fiancé(e)’s child: If granted, your fiancé(e) will be admitted into the United States as a K-1 non-immigrant. After marrying the U.S. citizen spouse, the foreign national will be able to seek admission as a legal permanent resident and will receive a green card.
- Widow(er) of a U.S. citizen: a widow or widower of a U.S. citizen who was married to the U.S. citizen spouse at the time of death, may apply for a green card.
- Abused spouse, child or parent (VAWA self-petitioner): These provisions allow, in certain cases, for the abused spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizen and abused spouses and children of legal permanent residents, to file a self-petition for a green card. This means that the abuser does not have to know.
Please note that for somebody to obtain an immigrant visa, they must be admissible to the United States. This means that they are not disqualified from receiving a green card. Please see our waivers page to learn more about inadmissibility issues.