Family Immigration

Family Immigration: Sponsorship for your Relatives

Your Family: Immediate Relatives

According to U.S. immigration law, “Immediate Relatives” of U.S. citizens are the spouses, parents of adult (over the age of 21) U.S. citizens, and unmarried children of U.S. citizens.
There is no limit to the number of immediate relative visas that may be issued in this category in any given year. Immediate relatives may obtain an immigrant visa or adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident upon approval of an immigrant visa petition, without having to wait for a visa to become available.

The alien spouse or child of an immediate relative does not automatically acquire permanent residence when the principal applicant obtains such status.  The only exception is for children of a widow or widower of a U.S. citizen.

Family-based Preference Categories

Family-sponsored immigrant visas for relatives other than immediate relatives are subject to numerical limitations and are categorized as follows:

  • First (F1): for unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
  • Second (F2A and F2B): for spouses and children of permanent residents (F2A) and unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age and older) of permanent residents (F2B)
  • Third (F3): for married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
  • Fourth (F4): for brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens who are 21 years of age or older

A cap (limit) applies to the number of family-sponsored immigrants that can be admitted annually to the United States.  Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are not subject to the numerical restrictions on visas that are applicable to relatives in the other family-based visa categories.  In addition, limitations exist within each family-based category on the number of visas that are available to relatives from each foreign state.  Consequently, visa backlogs exist for the preference categories.

Please call the law office of James C.T. Hsia & Associates at (703) 860 8822 to schedule your consultation or use the online form to describe your particular case details.