FAMILY BASED IMMIGRATION                                              


U.S. immigration law foreign national family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to become lawful permanent residents (get a Green Card) based on specific family relationships. Family-based immigrant petitions are filed by either United States Citizens or legal permanent residents on behalf of their foreign national relatives. After the relationship is established, the relatives may be eligible to adjust their status if they are in the United States or Consular Processing if they are outside the United States. 

The process generally requires the filing of several USCIS forms including the petition Form I-130 on behalf of the qualifying relatives, supporting documents to establish the qualifying family relationship, and an affidavit of support. Immediate relatives require an I-130 filing for each sponsored family member.

Foreign National relatives are categorized as "Immediate Relatives" or "Preference Immigrants." They are distinguished because there is no limit on the number of Immediate Relative visas granted. As such, the visa does not have a waiting period. On the other hand. Preference relatives often face long waiting times due to strict annual limits on permanent immigration benefits.


United States Citizens can apply for their foreign "immediate relatives":

  • Spouses;

  • Parents (if the LPR is over 21);

  • Children

Immediate relatives do not face waiting times for visa availability. Immediate relatives in the United States may qualify to file Form I-485 to adjust status.


Legal permanent residents (LPRs) also known as "green card" holders can apply for the following family members, who are in the preference categories:

  • Spouses;

  • Parents (if the LPR is over 21);

  • Children

United States Citizens can also apply for the following family members as "preference relatives":

  • Married and unmarried sons and/or daughters (over 21) of U.S. citizens; 

  • Brothers and/or sisters of U.S. citizens

Both United States Citizens and LPRs can apply for the following following family members who are the "preference relatives" categpry:

  • Unmarried sons and/or daughters (over 21) of U.S. permanent residents.


Preference relatives cannot obtain permanent residence until their priority dates are current. The length of the wait depends upon which family preference category is appropriate as well as the country of origin.

"Preference Immigrant" family members are eligible to apply for a Green Card according to the following designated categories:

  • 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).


  • Our offices advise clients about legal issues and an attorney may assist you in all types of family-based immigration cases at local USCIS offices, service centers, and U.S. consulates abroad.]

  • Have an attorney prepare your case, submit all required applications, forms and documents, and prepare you for and represent you at interviews at USCIS offices or U.S. consulates.