Family Based Petitions, Part 2family based petitions

To read Part 1 of Family Based Petitions/Family Based Immigration, click here.

How Do I Know When a Visa Becomes Available?

When a family based petition is successfully filed and approved, USCIS will provide the petitioner and beneficiary a notice that has a priority date on it. The priority date is a date that is assigned to the beneficiary of the petition and lets them know when a visa can be made ready. Visas become available to individuals sooner or later depending on their family relationships.

What Affects Visa Wait Times for Family Based Petitions?

The relationship of the petitioner to the beneficiary directly affects the average wait time for an individual to receive an immigrant visa from a family based petition. Depending on the relationship to the petitioner, a beneficiary may qualify under an Immediate Relative Visa or a Family Preference Visa.

U.S. citizen petitioners and beneficiaries who have close family relationships will experience quicker processing times for a visa to become available because they may qualify for an Immediate Relative immigrant visa, instead of a family preference category. The following types of relationships may qualify for Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas (IR visas):

  • IR-1: Spouse of a U.S. Citizen
  • IR-2: Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen
  • IR-3: Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen
  • IR-4: Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen
  • IR-5: Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old

Lawful permanent residents and some U.S. Citizens will experience a longer wait time, depending on how distant the relationship is. The following information lists the preference categories that a beneficiary of a potential family based petition may fall under. First preference categories receive visas quicker, where Fourth preference categories must wait significantly longer to receive their visas. Check with your immigration attorney to see how long you or a family member may have to wait to receive a visa via a family based petition.

  • First preference (F1): Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. (Adult means 21 or older)
  • Second Preference (F2A): Spouses of green card holders, unmarried children (under 21) of permanent residents
  • Second Preference (F2B):  Unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents
  • Third Preference (F3): Married sons and daughters (any age) of U.S. citizens
  • Fourth Preference (F4): Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens

Family based petitions can involve a tremendous amount of forms, supporting documentation, and other case-specific evidence. It is important to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer before considering this option. The attorneys at Gilles Law, PLLC are here to assist you with your immigration inquiries.

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