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Family – Based Sponsorship

The most common way to get a green card is through family based sponsorship, where an immediate U.S. Citizen relative (spouse, parents and minor children of U.S. citizens) files a petition for the foreign national. There are two ways allowing a U.S. Citizen to file a petition for a relative who intends to immigrate to the US:

1. File a petition with USCIS if the intending immigrant is residing in the U.S. and if he or she has entered by lawful means through a U.S. port of entry and was properly inspected upon their entry.

2. When the intending immigrant resides outside the U.S., he will need to go through consular processing to obtain a visa at a U.S. embassy abroad after his US Citizen relative files a petition in the U.S.


Extended family members may also petition for their foreign national relatives, however, these types of visas are limited and are subject to a waiting period defined by the Visa Bulletin. The visa bulletin lets you know when it’s time to claim your green card. Because the number of intending immigrants generally exceeds the available immigrant visas, there is virtually always a wait for family preference categories (non-immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens).

 In this case, the available immigrant visas (green cards) will be issued on a first-come, first-serve basis for each category. Family preference and employment immigrant categories are subject to numerical limitations and are divided by preference systems and priority dates on the Visa Bulletin. Applicants who fall under family preference or employment categories must wait in line until a visa becomes available to them in order to proceed with their immigrant visa applications. When the immigrant’s priority date becomes current based on the Visa Bulletin, the applicant can continue with their immigrant visa application.

Individuals who are subject to numerical limitations should be familiar with the term “priority date”. A priority date is the date when the relative or employer filed the immigrant visa petition on the foreign national’s behalf with the USCIS. The visa waiting list refers to those cases where the petition from the US sponsor has been approved, but the process cannot continue because of the limits on the number of visas and the per country limits. Based on the Department of State, family-sponsored preference categories are limited to a minimum of 140,000 visas per year.


If you need assistance with your immigration matter call us today at 347-536-8644 or fill out our Contact Form and a member of our team will be in touch with you shortly. 

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