Family-sponsored immigration allows citizens and Permanent Residents of the United States to help their relatives to come to a permanent place of residence in the United States. Each year, 480 thousand visas are issued.
What criteria do you need to meet?
To sponsor a member of your family, a citizen or a Permanent Resident of the United States must meet the following criteria:
- Be a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States and be able to provide documents in support of their status
- Prove that he or she can maintain a relative’s standard of living at least 125% of the established poverty line.
- For U.S. citizens, provide proof of their relationship with the persons they sponsor:
Husband or wife;
Unmarried child under 21 years of age;
A child who is unmarried is over 21 years of age;
A married child of any age;
A brother or sister is at least 21 years old;
Parent (if the sponsor is at least 21 years old).
- For permanent residents of the United States, provide evidence of their relationship with:
Husband or wife;
Unmarried child of any age.
What are preference categories?
People who want to immigrate are divided into categories according to the system of preferences. This system does not apply to the next of kin of U.S. citizens (parents, spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21). They can get immigrant visas as soon as the Citizenship and Immigration Service approves the petitions for their visas.
Other relatives must wait for their visas as they can be received in accordance with the following line of preference:
- First stage: Unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens. “Adults” means at least 21 years of age.
- Second: Spouses of lawful permanent residents of the United States, their unmarried children (under 21) and unmarried adult children of lawful permanent residents.
- Third stage: Married children of U.S. citizens.
- Fourth stage: Adult brothers and sisters U.S. citizens.
Due to the fact that the demand for visas exceeds the number of visas that can be issued in the established order, there is a waiting period. The waiting time depends on how much demand exceeds the availability of visas in accessibility, and also from which country the future immigrant is born. The U.S. Department of State publishes monthly information on waiting times in the section “Visa bulletins”.