Family-Based Immigration - 2022 Guide

Family-Based Immigration Lawyers

U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents may initiate a process for their family members to come to or remain within the U.S. permanently. These visas are known as family-based visas and are an excellent option for those who want to live in the U.S. and already have a family member in the country. Read on to learn more about them.

Family-Based Immigration Visa Categories

Family-based visas are divided into two main groups, determined by the relationship between the citizen or resident petitioner and the beneficiary family member.

  • Immediate relatives, such as spouses, parents, and unmarried children under 21 years of age. There is no limitation on the number of cases processed each year, so there is no wait list for this visa category.
  • Preference cases, reserved for other specified relationships, such as siblings, unmarried adult sons or daughters, and married sons or daughters. The number of immigrants in these categories is subject to a quota each fiscal year, which leads to increased wait times.

Which relatives can I petition for?

Family Visa Attorney in Orlando Helps Petition For Relatives

U.S. citizens can file an immigrant visa petition for their:

  • Spouse
  • Son or daughter
  • Parent
  • Brother or sister

U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents can only file an immigrant visa petition for their:

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried son or daughter

What are the Wait Times for a Family-Based Visa?

Wait times vary greatly depending on the visa category. For immediate relative petitions, the wait time is usually 5 to 9 months, as there is no limit on the number of visas that can be processed each year.

For preferential case petitions, wait times depend on several factors, such as the preference level of the relative, country of origin, etc. These cases can range anywhere from 2 to even 20 years!

Family-Based Visa Preference Levels

  • Family First Preference (F1): This category is for unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens who are over 21. The annual cap is 24,400 visas.
  • Family Second Preference (F2): This category is for the children (under 21), spouses, and unmarried sons and daughters (over 21 years old) of Lawful Permanent Residents. The annual cap for this category is 114,200 visas. 77% of the visas in this category are issued to children and spouses.
  • Family Third Preference (F3): This category is for married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. The annual cap is 23,400 visas.
  • Family Fourth Preference (F4): This category is for brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, their spouses, and minor unmarried children. The petitioner must be over 21 years old. The annual cap for this category is 65,000.


Family-Based Immigration Processing Times

Criteria for Sponsoring a Family-Based Visa

If you want to sponsor a family-based visa for one of your relatives, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. You can prove your status with documents such as a birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or green card.
  • You must also prove that you are capable of financially supporting your sponsored relative with an annual income that is at least 125% above the federal poverty guidelines for your household size.
  • You must demonstrate a qualifying relationship with the beneficiary.
  • You must maintain your residence in the U.S.

Contact our Family Visa Attorneys in Orlando

Are you seeking an immigrant visa for a family member? Contact Symphorien-Saavedra Law at 407-802-1717 and schedule a consultation with one of our immigration attorneys. Our law firm has extensive knowledge and experience in all aspects of U.S. immigration and nationality law matters. We are dedicated professionals and first-generation immigrants or direct descendants from Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba, and Colombia, and can communicate with you in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Contact us

Orlando Immigration Lawyer - Frank Symphorien-Saavedra

Symphorien-Saavedra Law, P.A. is a diverse team of immigrants who are dedicated to helping immigrants, small businesses, and investors.

(*) This information is provided for general purposes and is not a substitute for individualized advice. You should schedule a consultation to discuss your particular situation.