Family-based immigration enables people who come to the United States for a better life to bring their loved ones with them. The process isn’t easy but taking the proper steps can ensure that family members are able to remain in the country legally.

There are many things that you need to know if you are going to try to bring loved ones here. First, there are two categories for family members in the family visa program. Anyone who doesn’t meet the criteria in these two is ineligible for this immigration program.

  • Immediate relatives
    • Parents of citizens who are at least 21 years old
    • Spouse of citizen
    • Orphan adopted overseas and those to be adopted in the U.S. by a citizen
    • Citizen’s children who aren’t married and under 21
  • Family preference
    • Sons and daughters of citizens (married or unmarried)
    • Spouses and children of children of citizens
    • Legal permanent resident’s spouse, minor children and unmarried adult children
    • Brothers and sisters of citizens, along with their minor children and spouse
    • Married sons and daughters of citizens, along with their spouse and children

There isn’t a limit for the number of immediate family members who can come into the United States each year. Congress set a limit for family preference visas at 480,000 annually. The number of immediate relatives who come into the country each year is subtracted from that 480,000 cap, so there is a chance that very few family preference visas will be issued if there is a large number of immediate family members who receive visas.

Applying for a family-based immigration visa has a very specific process. Deviating from the process or not providing fully factual information can lead to a denial of the application.