WHAT IS FAMILY BASED IMMIGRATION?
Permanent immigration or lawful permanent residency in the U.S. comes with a variety of rights and privileges including the right to permanently live and work in the U.S.
If you want to immigrate to the U.S. through the family-based category, your relative who is either a U.S. Citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident must sponsor you.
WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE TO APPLY?
Your sponsor must submit Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) for you at a USCIS center, along with the necessary documentation.
Once USCIS receives your visa petition from your sponsor, it will be approved or denied. In the event that the petition is approved, USCIS will notify your sponsor.
USCIS then sends the approved visa petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center. The Center will notify you when the visa petition is received and again when an immigrant visa number is available. The immigrant visa numbers are allotted on the basis of the Preference Categories (described below). You can check your visa number allotment status in the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin.
WHAT ARE PREFERENCE CATEGORIES?
There are a several preference categories for allotting of immigrant visa numbers based on the status of the sponsor.
Immediate Allotment: Parents, spouse and unmarried children below the age of 21 years.
First Preference: Unmarried adult (above the age of 21 years) sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
Second Preference: Spouses of Lawful Permanent Residents and their unmarried sons and daughters of any age.
Third Preference: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens.