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What’s the difference between immediate relative and family-based visas?

When you want to come to the USA or bring a relative if you’re already here, you’ll need to look into the immediate relative and family-based visas. Immediate relative immigrant visas are only available to the parents, spouses and children of U.S. citizens. This includes those who have become citizens through naturalization.

Family-based visas, also known as family preference immigrant visas, are for other relatives who are more distant, such as siblings, their spouses and their minor children. These visas are more limited than immediate relative visas.

How easy is it to get an immediate relative or family-based visa?

Immediate relative immigrant visas are not limited, so it’s easier to obtain this kind of visa than a family-based visa for a more distant relative. Family preference immigrant visas are limited in number, so only a specific number of these visas are issued each year. It normally takes several years to obtain a family preference immigrant visa, whereas the immediate relative visa could be completed within a single year in some cases.

It’s also important to note that the immediate relative immigrant visa is only available to sponsors who are U.S. citizens. Those who would like to sponsor their loved ones to come to the USA are still able to if they are permanent residents, but they will need to use the family preference visa program to do so.

U.S. citizens have a right to file an immigration visa petition for their sons and daughters, spouses, brothers and sisters, or parents. U.S. lawful permanent residents are only able to petition to bring their unmarried sons and daughters or spouses to the United States.

Choose the right application to prevent delays and denials of visas and Green Cards

The differences between these visas make them distinct from one another and should be understood before attempting to complete an application. Applications by those who do not qualify will be denied, which is costly and starts the entire process over. Your attorney can help you find the right method to bring your loved ones to the USA if you are interested in petitioning for them.