Frequently Asked Family Immigration Questions

What is family-based immigration?

Family-based immigration refers to the process of family members attempting to receive visas and the right to legally and permanently live in the United States. Two family members are typically involved in this immigration process. The first is a petitioner; a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who wants to sponsor a foreign family member (beneficiary) for a visa or green card. The second is the family member.

Who may sponsor a relative for a green card?

A family member who is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident can sponsor people seeking entry into the United States and, eventually, green cards. Visas are available on a preference basis, with more visas available for close relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents and fewer available for more distant relatives.

Can a legal permanent resident petition for a relative?

Yes. If you are a U.S. legal permanent resident, you can sponsor your spouse, an unmarried child under 21 years old or an unmarried child over 21 years old.

What is the difference between an immediate relative and a family preference visa?

  • Immediate relatives are spouses, unmarried minor children and parents of U.S. citizens (if the citizen is 21 or older). The number of immigrant visas for these immediate relatives is unlimited.
  • All other immigrants fall into a “family preference” category (for more distant relatives) which has a capped/limited number of visas granted per year. These relatives may be sponsored via a family preference petition: unmarried children older than 21, married children of any age and siblings (if the U.S. citizen petitioner is more than 21 years old).

What is the difference between a fiancé(e) visa and a marriage visa?

A fiancé(e) visa is a temporary visa that can be granted for travel to the U.S. to marry an American. After marriage, the foreign national must apply for permanent residency, separate from the initial visa application.

If you are a married U.S. citizen or a permanent resident (with a green card) and want to bring your spouse to America, you can sponsor your spouse for a green card through an immigrant visa petition or an adjustment of status application (the latter if your spouse is already legally in the U.S.) Spouses qualify as immediate relatives and a visa number is immediately available. However, the application must be processed, which can take several months. If applying within the U.S., an adjustment of status application will be needed.

Speak With Us About Your Visa Concerns

Please reach out today to speak with a compassionate immigration attorney about applying for or sponsoring someone for a visa. Let us guide you in your quest to bring your family together. Call us today at 800-709-0243 or send in this email request. We are conveniently located with offices in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio.