Certain foreign nationals may apply for permanent residency (green card) in the United States based on their familial relationship to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Generally, as an initial step in the green card process, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident must file an immigrant visa petition, I-130, for the foreign relative. The foreign relative must then apply for permanent residence in the United States. The requirements relating to these petitions vary depending on the circumstances of each applicant.
The visas awarded to certain other classes of relatives of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents are subject to yearly numerical limits. When the number of qualified applicants for a visa category exceeds the number of available immigrant visas, there will be an immigration wait. In such situations, the available immigrant visas will be issued in the chronological order in which the petitions were filed. For certain categories of relatives, there may be a waiting period of several years until a visa is awarded. Different visa quotas apply to the following categories of applicants:
Unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 or over) of U.S. citizens, and their minor children, if any (23,400 visas allocated to this category of applicants);
Spouses, minor children (younger than 21) and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 or over) of legal permanent residents (114,200 visas allocated to this category of applicants);
Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor (younger than 21) children (23,400 visas allocated to this category of applicants); and
Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age (65,000 visas allocated to this category of applicants).
We provide legal services with respect to all categories of numerically capped family-based visas.
How We Can Help
The laws regulating family-based immigration are complex and ever-changing. We can provide you with an assessment of the best available strategies for your family-based petition and an appraisal of the likelihood of approval. If you decide to proceed with a petition, we will guide you through the process and help you maximize the chances of a successful application. In addition to our legal expertise, our language skills in Spanish and Portuguese make us particularly helpful to our Latin American, Spanish, and Portuguese clients.