Family Based Immigration petitions can be filed by either the United States citizen, or permanent residents. There are two categories for family based immigrant visas, these include immediate relative and family preference under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Immediate relatives apply to the limited relatives of the U.S citizen which include spouses, parents, and children. Preference relatives (Extended Family) are specified for the distant relatives of the U.S citizen. Preference relatives will not be able to obtain permanent residency until their priority dates are current.
Filing for permanent residency (‘green card’) can also allow obtainment of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which is a work permit that grants lawful employment within the United States (as the green card application is pending in process).
To apply for Family Based Immigration Visa:
● The United States citizen or permanent resident has to file a petition (Form I-130) on behalf of the qualifying foreign national relative. This is done with the Department of Homeland Security. If the relative resides outside of the United States the case will continue through consular processing, or with the USCIS overseas.
● Immediate relatives will need an I-130 filed for each sponsoring family member
● Sufficient documents for qualified family relatives have to be provided
● An affidavit of support is also a general requirement