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U.S. immigration law allows U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to bring over certain noncitizens who are related via a green card. The family-based visa process varies depending on the relationship that the family member has with the noncitizen. On this page, we will highlight what you need to know about the family-based visa program as well as offering our family visa lawyer expertise to guide you along the process of bringing your beloved family member to the U.S.
What are Family-Based Visas?
Family-based visas are a type of visa that the United States has created to allow citizens and permanent residents the ability to bring their family members to the United States via a green card. There are a number of different types of family-based visas, including Immediate Relative Visas (IR visas) and Family Preference Immigrant Visas (F visas).
Grounds of Inadmissibility
While family-based visas allow family members to get green cards of citizens and permanent residents, there are some grounds of inadmissibility that will prevent someone from getting a green card. These include:
- Foreigners with communicable diseases of public significance
- Have been convicted of certain crimes
- Have been convicted of trafficking controlled substances
- Have been convicted of engaging in prostitution
- Have benefited from human trafficking in the last 5 years
- Have been found guilty of money laundering
- Have violated U.S. laws related to esponionage and sabotage
- Have been convicted of terrorist activites
- Have been affiliated with the communist or totalitarian party
You can read the full list of grounds of inadmissibility for getting a green card here.
Types of Family-Based Visas
Let's review a few types of family-based visas for U.S. citizens and for lawful permanent residents:
Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas (IR visas) are available for individuals who are immediate family members of a U.S. citizen. There is no limit each year on the number of IR visas that can be granted. These visas include the following types:
- IR-!: Spouse of a United States citizen
- IR-2: Unmarried children under the age of 21 years old of a U.S. Citizen
- IR-3: Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen
- IR-4: Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen
- IR-5: Parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years of age
In addition to Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas, Family Preference Immigrant Visas (F Visas) are for family member relationships other than a spouse, child, or parents. These visas are limited based on availability each year. These visas include:
- F1: Unmarried sons or daughters of U.S. citizens and their minor children. There are 23,400 of these types available each year.
- F3: Married sons or daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouse and/or minor children. There are 23,400 of these types available each year.
- F4: The brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens and their spouses and/or minor children. There are 65,000 of these types available each year.
Family-Based Preference Visas (F1, F2, F3, F4) are limited in number each year, and are issued based on the date that the petition was filed, given that the family member meets the standards for receiving a green card.
Lawful Permanent Residents
Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) may petition for close family members for F2 visas. There are 114,000 Family preference visas available each year for lawful permanent residents. Approximately 75% of all F2 visas are reserved for spouses and minor children, while the remaining number go to unmarried sons and daughters.
Family Visa Application Process
The process for family-based visa applications generally begin with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident making a request to the U.S government to allow a family member to immigrate to the United States.
Once the USCIS approves the petition and a visa number is available, the foreign family member can apply for a green card, either through consular processing or an adjustment of status.
After a foreign family member reaches the front of the line, an immigrant visa is now available to you. This can sometimes take years as there is a limited number of family-based visas (as we highlighted above) available.
If you need personal guidance, you can schedule an immigration strategy session here.
Hire a Top Family Visa Lawyer in Miami, Florida
You need a partner who can help you succeed in your family visa case. We have a proven track record of helping individuals get visas via the family-based visa programs available! We are top immigration lawyers in Miami, Florida and can help you navigate the complicated process to win your case. Give Immigration Lawyers USA a call at 305-501-0783 or contact us here to schedule your consultation today!