What You Need To Know About Family-Based Immigration For Family Members Who Are Abroad

The immigration process in the U.S. can be confusing and complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Here, an experienced immigration attorney breaks down what you need to know about family-based immigration for family members not presently in the United States.

What is family-based immigration?

Under United States immigration law, family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents can become lawful permanent residents based on their family relationships. Family based immigration is the most common form of legal immigration, making up roughly two-thirds of legal immigration in the United States.

Types of family-based immigrant visas

There are two types of family-based immigrant visas: Immediate Relative and Family Preference.

Immediate Relative visas are only available for those with a close family relationship with a U.S. citizen, such as a spouse, parent, or child. There is no limit to the number of immigrants in these categories each fiscal year.

Family Preference visas are available for more distant family members of U.S. citizens as well as certain relatives of a Lawful Permanent Resident. There is a limit on the number of immigrants in these categories each fiscal year.

Who is eligible for family based immigration?

U.S. citizens can file an immigrant visa petition for the following family members:

  • Spouse
  • Son or daughter
  • Parent
  • Sibling

U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents are significantly more limited in the family members they can sponsor. These residents can only file an immigrant petition for their:

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried child

What is the application process for family based immigration?

First, the U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident petitioner must file Form 1-30, Petition for Alien Relative with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They can do this either electronically or by mail. The USCIS must approve your petition before your case can proceed to the National Visa Center.

Once your petition is approved, USCIS transfers your case to the National Visa Center for pre-processing. They will create your case in the system, and you can submit all necessary fees, forms, and documents to the NVC.

These fees include two processing fees, the Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee and Affidavit of Support Fee. After paying the fees, you must submit the Affidavit of Support, a document an individual signs to accept financial responsibility for the applicant coming to the U.S. You must also submit financial documents, complete the online visa application, and submit civil documents issued by the official issuing authority.

After you submit all the documents, the NVC will review your case to confirm that you provided all necessary information to schedule your immigrant visa interview. Once you’re scheduled for an interview, you must complete the following steps: complete a medical examination with an embassy-approved doctor, register for courier service, and gather the documents required.

Then, you will attend the interview and bring all required civil documents. If you are approved after the interview process, your visa will be placed in your passport and you must pay the Immigrant Fee before traveling to the United States.

Talk to the Immigration Lawyers at JAD Law

The U.S. Immigration process can be lengthy and confusing, but an experienced immigration lawyer can help you navigate the process. JAD Law is here to help. Contact JAD Law today to schedule an appointment.

JAD Law serves several counties across Metro Detroit, Michigan, including Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, and Wayne counties.