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Family-Based Permanent Visas

The other most widely used method to obtain legal permanent residence in the U.S. is through family sponsorship, which is also categorized based on the relationship of the foreign national to the petitioning U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (LPR).

There is no waiting period for foreign relatives who are spouses, children (under age 21) and parents of U.S. citizens. These individuals may receive an immigrant visa immediately and are classified as Immediate Relatives.

For foreign relatives who do not qualify as Immediate Relatives, U.S. immigration law provides different preference categories based on the foreign relative's relationship to the U.S. citizen or LPR. These relationships are separated into four family-based preferences:

  • F1: First Preference, Unmarried adult children (over age 21) of U.S. citizens.
  • F2: Second Preference, Spouses and children, and unmarried children of LPRs.
  • F3: Third Preference, Married children of US citizens.
  • F4: Fourth Preference, Siblings of adult US citizens.

Please contact our office if you require assistance with any of these preference categories.

Immediate Relatives

U.S. immigration law promotes family unity by allowing certain foreign nationals to join their U.S. citizen spouse, parent or child without having to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available.  These individuals must demonstrate the following relationship to their U.S. citizen relative:

  • Spouses to a U.S. citizen;
  • Unmarried children under age 21 of a U.S. citizen; and/or
  • Parent(s) to an U.S. citizen child over age 21.

Please contact our office if you require assistance with this preference category.

Family-Based First Preference (F1)

Family-based immigrant visas may receive a first preference category (F1) if the foreign relative is an unmarried son or daughter, over age 21, to a U.S. citizen parent.

Please contact our office if you require assistance with this preference category.

Family-Based Second Preference (F2A and F2B)

Family-based immigrant visas are assigned a second preference category (F2) if the foreign relative is related to a legal permanent resident (LPR) in the following ways:

F2A Preference: a spouse or an unmarried child under age 21 of an LPR, or

F2B Preference: an unmarried child over age 21 of an LPR.

Please contact our office if you require assistance with this preference category.

Family-Based Third Preference (F3)

Family-based immigrant visas are assigned a third preference category (F3) if the foreign relative is a married child (of any age) of a U.S. citizen.

Please contact our office if you require assistance with this preference category.

Family-Based Fourth Preference (F4)

Family-based immigrant visas are assigned a fourth preference category (F4) if the foreign relative is brother or sister of a U.S. citizen and the U.S. citizen is at least age 21.

Please contact our office if you require assistance with this preference category.

VAWA Visas

U.S. immigration laws offer protection for individuals who have been a Victim of Domestic Violence (either physically, sexually, verbally or psychologically) at the hands of their US Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident Spouse, Parent or Child.

Although called the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Immigration allows certain spouses (women AND men) to file for an immigrant visa without consent from or knowledge of their US Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident Spouse, Parent or Child who may be the abuser.  Filing a petition under VAWA means a survivor of violence can self petition without needing the consent or knowledge of their abuse. If approved, the survivor receives their own Lawful Permanent Residence ("Green Card").

If you or somebody you know suffers from domestic abuse, the National Domestic Violence Hotline also provides additional services and resources for victims (800) 799-7233.

Please contact our office if you have questions on how to qualify for an immigrant visa under VAWA.

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