What You Need To Know About Family Preference Visas

The American immigration visa application process can be long and difficult to navigate. It is always best to speak with a knowledgeable attorney regarding the process. Here, an experienced immigration attorney shares what you need to know about the family preference visa application process. If you are the spouse, minor child, or parent of a U.S. Citizen, you are eligible for a Green Card for Immediate Relatives of U.S. citizens

Who is eligible to apply for a family preference visa?

The following family members of US Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents are eligible for a family preference green card:

  • Family First Preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens: The U.S. citizen must be at least 21 years of age
  • Family Second  Preference (F2) Spouses, unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over), and minor children of lawful permanent residents
  • Family Third Preference (F3): Married children of U.S. citizens, as well as their spouses and minor children
  • Family Fourth Preference (F4) U.S. citizens’ siblings, their spouses, and minor children. The U.S. citizen must be at least 21 years of age.

How many Family Preference Visas are available each year for each category?

  • F1 U.S. Citizens’ unmarried children: 23,400
  • F2: Lawful Permanent Residents’ spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters: 114,200
  • F3: U.S. Citizens’ married children: 23,400
  • F4: Adult U.S. Citizens’ siblings: 65,000

How long is the approval process for family preference visas?

Since there’s a limit on how many family preference visas are granted in each category every year, the approval process can be lengthy. The timeline depends on the specific family preference category for which you are eligible and the filing date of the petition. Getting a visa processed can take anywhere from six months to many years.

Can a family preference green card be denied?

To become a green card holder, you must meet several requirements of the family-based immigration system. Your green card application can be denied if you are found inadmissible.

Some common grounds for inadmissibility include the following:

  • Current or previous unauthorized employment in the U.S.
  • Unlawfully residing in the U.S. for periods of time
  • Violating the terms of your nonimmigrant status in the past

It’s essential to consult with your immigration attorney to determine your admissibility status based on your specific circumstances.

How do you apply for a Family Preference Visa?

The process starts with the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. This form establishes the qualifying relationship and requests the visa number.

Once USCIS approves the petition and a visa number is issued, the immigrant family member can apply for a green card. If you are already in the U.S. with nonimmigrant status, you can apply through adjustment of status. If you aren’t eligible for an adjustment of status, you must apply through consular processing.

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.