Family-Based Visas for the US – Bringing Your Loved Ones to America


The United States is a land of opportunity, and many families around the world dream of bringing their loved ones to America. Fortunately, the U.S. government offers several family-based visas that allow U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) to sponsor their family members for immigration.Family-Based Visas for the US - Bringing Your Loved Ones to America In this guide, we will explain what family-based visas are, who is eligible, and how to apply.

Types of Family-Based Visas


There are two main categories of family-based visas: immediate relative visas and family preference visas.

Immediate Relative Visas

Immediate relative visas are available to the closest relatives of U.S. citizens, including:

  • Spouses of U.S. citizens
  • Unmarried children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens
  • Parents of U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old

Immediate relative visas do not have annual limits, which means that there is no waiting period for a visa to become available. This makes immediate relative visas the fastest way to bring a family member to the United States.


Family Preference Visas

Family preference visas are available to more distant relatives of U.S. citizens and green card holders, including:

  • Unmarried children over the age of 21 of U.S. citizens
  • Married children of U.S. citizens
  • Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens
  • Spouses and unmarried children of green card holders

Family preference visas have annual limits, which means that there may be a waiting period for a visa to become available. The waiting period can range from several months to several years, depending on the category and the country of origin of the applicant.

Eligibility Requirements

To sponsor a family member for a family-based visa, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder)
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a qualifying relationship with the family member you want to sponsor
  • Meet the financial requirements to support the family member

The financial requirements vary depending on the family member being sponsored and the sponsor’s income level. For example, a sponsor of a spouse must demonstrate that they have an income that is at least 125% of the federal poverty level.

How to Apply

To apply for a family-based visa, the sponsor must file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The form must include evidence of the qualifying relationship between the sponsor and the family member, such as a marriage certificate or birth certificate.

Once the I-130 petition is approved, the family member can apply for an immigrant visa or adjust their status to become a lawful permanent resident. The process for obtaining an immigrant visa or adjusting status varies depending on the family member’s country of origin and immigration history.


Family-based visas are a valuable tool for bringing loved ones to the United States. Whether you are a U.S. citizen or a green card holder, there are several options available to sponsor your family members for immigration. While the process can be complex and time-consuming, with the right guidance and preparation, you can successfully navigate the family-based visa process and bring your loved ones to America.


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