How Does USCIS Prioritize Applicants?
The USCIS prioritizes applicants based on the following:
- 1st preference: Unmarried, adult children of U.S. citizens
- 2nd preference: Spouses and children of Permanent Residents
- 3rd preference: Married children of U.S. citizens
- 4th preference: Brothers or sisters of U.S. citizens
If you would like to become a permanent resident, thankfully, there are a few ways to go about the process. You may qualify for several paths to citizenship if that is the ultimate goal.
Types of Family-Based Visas
These are the primary types of family-based immigration visas:
- Immediate Relative Visas (IR)
- Family Preference Visas (F)
- Fiancé Visas (K)
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) enacted these laws specifically to address immigration law in the U.S. Our family immigration Visas lawyer can help you decipher the various types of visas so that you know which one will apply to you or your loved one's situation.
About Immediate Relative Visas:
- These are available to those who have a close familial relationship with their family member
- There are no limits to the number of eligible applicants every fiscal year
- Immediate relatives may include the following:
- The spouse of a U.S. citizen
- Unmarried children under the age of 21
- Adopted children of U.S. citizens
- Parents of a U.S. citizen who is over 21
About Family Preference Visas:
- Applies to family members who do not otherwise qualify for an IR visa.
- There is a limited number of eligible applicants every fiscal year.
F visas extend to the following:
- Unmarried children of U.S. citizens (23, 000 allotted)
- Spouses, underage children, and unmarried children 21 and over (114, 200 allotted)
- Married children of U.S. citizens (23, 400 allotted)
- Siblings of U.S. citizens (must be at least 21 years old), as well as their spouses and minor children (65, 000 allotted)
About Fiancé Visas:
- Applies to who engaged to be married to U.S. citizens
- Once married, the spouse can petition to become a U.S. permanent resident
Family-based immigration visas allow family members who have close ties to the U.S. the chance for every person to live on the same soil. Applications are considered in order of preference as listed above until the limit has been reached.
The order in which the applications will be processed will depend on when the petition was entered. It is in your best interests to consult first with a seasoned Houston immigration lawyer to help ensure you stay one step ahead of the entire process.
How Do I Begin the Petition Process?
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services must approve an immigrant visa called an I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. The family relationship between the intended immigrant and his or her sponsor must be recognized by U.S. immigration law.
Any United States sponsors that are petitioning for their siblings or parents to join them in the U.S. must be at least be 21 years of age. For all other requests regarding other family members, there is no minimum age that the sponsor must be, however, in order to sign the Affidavit of Support, Form I-864 or I-864-EZ is required for a relative or spouse to come to the U.S., the individual must be 18 years old.