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The types of family-based visas

On Behalf of | May 18, 2023 | Immigration Law

If you have a relative outside the country who you want to come to live with you in Arizona, then you can sponsor them for an immigrant visa. There are basically two types of family-based immigration visas, each with its own requirements and advantages.

The Immediate Relative visa

The Immediate Relative visa is for close family members of United States citizens, including spouses, parents, siblings and unmarried children under 21 years old. This visa has special immigration priority over other individuals seeking to enter the U.S., so processing times may be shorter, and there’s no limit on the number of visas issued each year.

The Family Preference visa

The Family Preference visa is for a wider range of family members, including unmarried children over 21, married children of any age and siblings. This visa requires sponsorship by an individual who is already a legal permanent resident in the U.S. rather than a citizen, as with the Immediate Relative visa.

There are limits to the number of visas that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can offer per year. For example for minor children, unmarried children who are 21 and older and spouses, the number is 114,200 visas, with approximately 77% going to spouses and minor children. You should note that there are no family-based immigration visas for in-laws, cousins, aunts, uncles or grandparents.

Applying for a U.S. family visa

To begin the sponsorship process, you will need to mail Form I-130 (visa petition form) along with accompanying documents to the USCIS. Basically, you will need to prove that the family relationship is real and meets the requirements of U.S. immigration laws.

The USCIS officers will either approve or deny your petition. If they approve, they will forward the case file to the National Visa Center for further processing. If they deny your petition, you can file a new one or appeal the decision.

The next step is waiting, usually at least a year before the USICS issues your relative a visa. If things go well and they get their visa, they can go further to apply for permanent residency.

Family-based immigration visas provide an opportunity for families to reunite. You can sponsor a relative for an immigrant visa in Arizona under the Immediate Relative or Family Preference visa categories. It’s important to ensure that you meet all requirements and submit the required documents when applying for your family member’s visa.