Are you interested in obtaining a family preference visa?

Perhaps you are a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States who wishes to obtain a visa for your 24-year-old son who presently resides in another country.

How does immigration law apply, and what are the limitations to your request?

Bringing in family

Under the United States Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), there are two categories for family-based immigration visas. The Immediate Relative Immigrant Visa is for those who have close family relationships with U.S. citizens, such as a spouse, an unmarried child under the age of 21 or the parent of a citizen who is at least 21 years of age. The Family Preference Immigrant Visa is for people who have more distant family relationships with U.S. citizens and specific relationships with LPRs.

Reviewing categories

Unlike Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas, unlimited in terms of annual approval, the government limits Family Preference Immigrant Visas. For example, at 23,400 annually, the F1 Family First Preference visa is for unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their minor children. The Family Second Preference (F2) visa is for the minor children, unmarried children 21 and older, and spouses of LPRs. About 77% of the available visas in this category go to spouses and children. The remaining 114,200 visas are set aside for unmarried sons and daughters.

The waiting period

Lawful permanent residents of the U.S. should bear in mind that if the number of applicants eligible for immigrant visas exceeds the number of visas available, there will be a waiting period. In this case, the government issues visas in chronological order according to the priority date, which is the filing date of a petition.

Next steps

It is often difficult for people interested in obtaining visas for family members to understand U.S. immigration laws, which change frequently. If you wish to obtain a Family Preference Immigrant Visa for your 24-year-old son, explore your legal options, and rely on professional guidance to help you reach your goal.

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