It is no surprise that many people with family outside of the United States wish to be reunited. One way this can be done is by sponsoring certain family members for a family-based visa. Below, our New York immigration team outlines everything you need to know about who is eligible and what the process looks like.
There are only two classifications of individuals that can sponsor one of their family members for a visa, United States citizens and lawful permanent residents. Immediate family visas are designated only to close relatives of current U.S. citizens, and these visas do not have a limit of the number given out per fiscal year. Lawful permanent residents, however, must take notice of what is called the preference system, which designates which family members are eligible for sponsorship. Unlike immediate family visas, these are limited to a certain number each fiscal year, which cannot exceed 480,000.
Who Can be Sponsored?
Current United States citizens have the ability to sponsor anyone in their immediate family. This includes their spouse, children under the age of 21, parents, and siblings. Lawful permanent residents, those who currently reside in the U.S. under a green card of their own, can only file a petition for their spouse or unmarried children. If they wish to sponsor a relative outside of those categories, they must adhere to the preference system.
The preference system is used as a way to distribute the limited number of visas each year based on five different classifications of relatives. It is utilized by both lawful permanent residents and United States citizens who wish to sponsor family members that fall outside of the requirements for an immediate family visa. These preferences include:
- F1: First preference - Unmarried children over the age of 21, of current U.S. citizens
- F2A: Second preference - Unmarried spouses and children, under the age of 21, of lawful permanent residents
- F2B: Second preference - Unmarried children of lawful permanent residents under the age of 21
- F3: Third preference - Married children of current U.S. citizens
- F4: Fourth preference - Siblings over the age of 21 of current U.S. citizens
Get in Touch with Our Seasoned Team Today
If you would like to learn more about how you can help you sponsor a family for a visa, don’t hesitate to contact us today through our online contact form, or give us a call at (212) 390-1024 today!