Family based visas are immigrant visas reserved for relatives of US Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (Green Card holders). The two steps in applying for lawful permanent residence in the US (a Green Card) are:
i) not be inadmissible, and
ii) establish eligibility within one of the categories by establishing your relationship to a qualifying relative as either a spouse, child, or parent.
There are two main classes of relative petitions; “immediate relatives” and “preference relatives.” The difference between immediate relative petitions and preference relative petitions is that preference relatives must wait until their ” is current before they can apply for an entry visa or before they can apply for adjustment of status in cases where they are already lawfully in the United States.
Immediate Relatives are:
a) Spouses of US Citizens;
b) Children (single, under 21) of US Citizens; and
c) Parents of US Citizens (if the US Citizen is 21 and over).
Preference Relatives are:
a) First (FB1) – Unmarried sons and daughters (21 and over) of US Citizens;
b) Second A (FB2A) – Spouses and unmarried children of Lawful Permanent Residents
c) Second B (FB2B) – Unmarried sons and daughters of Lawful Permanent Residents
d) Third (FB3) – Married sons and daughters of US Citizens; and
e) Fourth (FB4) – Brothers and sisters of US Citizens.
Relatives of Family Based Visa Applicants (Derivatives)
When an individual is sponsored, that person might have spouses and children who they would like to bring with them. The term for such persons is “derivatives.” Only preference relatives may include spouses and children as derivatives. So, for example, if a US Citizen sponsors their parent, that parent can’t bring their children with them. On the other hand, if a US Citizen sponsors their sibling, that sibling can bring their children with them.
Specific Eligibility Requirements for a Spouse
In spousal petitions, the marriage must be legal, which means that all prior marriages must have been legally terminated and the marriage must have been legal in the place of marriage. There obviously can be no fraud, which means that you cannot marry just to get the immigration benefit. And there is a 2-year conditional green card in marriages less than 2 years old at the time the beneficiary gets their green card. The condition must be removed by I-751, either by the couple jointly, or in the event of divorce it can be done independently with more proof of bona fide marriage or proof of abuse during the marriage.
To discuss the Family Based visa process and other alternatives with an experienced immigration lawyer from the Aria Law Group, feel free to contact us by email or call us at (650) 391-9630.