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FAMILY-BASED IMMIGRANTS
(Immigration through Relatives)

The Immigration and Nationality Act allows for the immigration of foreigners to the United States based on relationship to a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. Family-based immigration falls under two basic categories: unlimited and limited.



UNLIMITED FAMILY-BASED

Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens (IR): The spouse, widow(er) and unmarried children under 21 of a U.S. citizen, and the parent of a U.S. citizen who is 21 or older. Returning Residents (SB): Immigrants who lived in the United States previously as lawful permanent residents and are returning to live in the U.S. after a temporary visit of more than one year abroad.

LIMITED FAMILY-BASED

  • Family First Preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their children, if any. (23,400)
  • Family Second Preference (F2): Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (over age 20) of lawful permanent residents. (114,200) At least seventy-seven percent of all visas available for this category will go to the spouses and children; the remainder will be allocated to unmarried sons and daughters.
  • Family Third Preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and children. (23,400)
  • Family Fourth Preference (F4): Brothers and sisters of United States citizens, and their spouses and children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age. (65,000)

VISA INELIGIBILITY / WAIVER

The immigration laws of the United States, in order to protect the health, welfare, and security of the United States, prohibit the issuance of a visa to certain applicants. Examples of applicants who must be refused visas are those who: have a communicable disease such as tuberculosis, have a dangerous physical or mental disorder, or are drug addicts; have committed serious criminal acts; are terrorists, subversives, members of a totalitarian party, or former Nazi war criminals; have used illegal means to enter the United States; or are ineligible for citizenship. Some former exchange visitors must live abroad two years. Physicians who intend to practice medicine must pass a qualifying exam before receiving immigrant visas. If found to be ineligible, the consular officer will then advise the applicant if the law provides for some form of waiver.



OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Documents for a Visa Application
All applicants must submit certain personal documents such as passports, birth certificates, police certificates, and other civil documents, as well as evidence that they will not become public charges in the U.S. The consular officer will inform visa applicants of the documents needed as their applications are processed.
Medical Examinations
Before the issuance of an immigrant visa, every applicant, regardless of age, must undergo a medical examination. The examination will be conducted by a doctor designated by the consular officer. Costs for such examinations must be borne by the applicant.

Numerical Limitations
Whenever there are more qualified applicants for a category than there are available numbers, the category will be considered oversubscribed, and immigrant visas will be issued in the chronological order in which the petitions were filed until the numerical limit for the category is reached. The filing date of a petition becomes the applicant's priority date. Immigrant visas cannot be issued until an applicant's priority date is reached. In certain heavily oversubscribed categories, there may be a waiting period of several years before a priority date is reached. For the latest priority dates, call (202) 663-1541.

Miscellaneous
Since no advance assurances can be given that a visa will be issued, applicants are advised not to make any final travel arrangements, not to dispose of their property, and not to give up their jobs until visas have been issued to them. An immigrant visa can be valid for four months from date of issuance. With few exceptions, a person born in the United States has a claim to U.S. citizenship. Persons born in countries other than the U.S. may have a claim, under United States law, to U.S. nationality if: Either parent was born or naturalized in the U.S., or Either parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of applicant's birth. Any applicant believing he or she may have a claim to U.S. citizenship should not apply for a visa until his or her citizenship has been determined by the consular office.






Kingston, Martinez & Hogan immigration represents clients throughout the United States and California, Ca, Southern California, santa barbara, goleta, santa ynez, goleta valley, ventura, oxnard, camarillo, los angeles, and Los angeles county. nationally, many clients come from Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, new mexico, colorado, detroit, chicago, dallas, new york city, boston, philadelphia, and washington d.c. Internationally, we work with companies and individuals all over world, including mexico and canada.