The Ultimate Guide to Family-Based Visas


Which Family-Based Visa Is Right for You?

The United States immigration system allows U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents (LPRs) to sponsor their foreign family members to get a visa. If you want to reunite with your family members, you can do so by sponsoring or applying for a family-based visa.

Since there are different family-based visas available for your loved ones, it can be challenging to determine which family visa is right for your loved one. Our Chicago immigration attorneys have put together the ultimate guide to family-based visas.

If you want to sponsor your loved one for a family-based visa, contact our Chicago family immigration attorneys today at (312) 471-0014 to schedule a case review!

What Are the Family-Based Visa Requirements?

For a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident to sponsor a family member, they must be at least 21 years of age or older. There are two different types of family visas, immediate relative and family preference. Close relatives, fall under the “immediate relative”. These include:

  • Spouses
  • Children
  • Parents

More extended relatives, fall under the “family preference” category. These include:

  • Married sons or daughters
  • Brothers
  • Sisters

It is important to note that U.S. citizens have a wider selection of which family members they can sponsor compared to a green card holders. A U.S. citizen can file an immigrant visa petition for a:

  • Spouse
  • Son or daughter
  • Parent
  • Brother
  • Sister

However, a lawful permanent resident can only file an immigration visa petition for their spouse or unmarried son or daughter (over the age of 21).

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), there are ranking preferences when granting family-based visas. If your family member isn’t on the following list, they won’t qualify for a family-based visa:

  • First preference (F1): unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age and older) of U.S. citizens:
  • Second preference (F2A): spouses and children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of lawful permanent residents;
  • Second preference (F2B): unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age and older) of lawful permanent residents;
  • Third preference (F3): married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens; and
  • Fourth preference (F4): brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years of age and older).

Visas for Fiancé(e)s of U.S. Citizens

If you want to bring your foreign fiancé(e) to the United States to get married, you need to file a K-1 nonimmigrant visa application (also known as the fiancé(e) visa). To qualify, you and your partner must intend to get married within 90 days after your fiancé(e) enters the United States with their granted visa.

You will also need to demonstrate that your marriage is valid, meaning both you and your fiancé(e) have a bona fide intent to establish a life together, and the marriage is not for the sole purpose of obtaining an immigration benefit.

Call Our Chicago Family Immigration Lawyers: (312) 471-0014

Applying for a family-based visa is a lengthy and complex process without legal guidance. If you want to sponsor a loved one for a family-based visa, contact our Chicago family immigration attorneys.

From handling complex employment immigration matters to helping a family reunite in the United States, our immigration lawyers’ skills and experiences have enabled us to reach positive outcomes. Whatever your situation requires, you can count on our firm to explore all your options and work with you to determine a viable solution.

Discover how our immigration lawyer in Chicago can assist with your case by calling us today at (312) 471-0014!

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