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Family-based immigration visas in the United States

When you or a family member wants to come the United States, it might be possible to get a family-based immigration visa. There are several considerations that you must think about when you are thinking about pursuing one of these visas to come into the U.S. Our readers in Texas might be interested in learning about some of the points of family-based immigration visas.

In a general sense, there are two basic types of family-based immigration visas: Family Preference Immigrant Visas and Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas. Each of these is available only to a specific group of people.

Family Preference Immigrant Visas are limited in number each year. This type of visa is reserved for what the U.S. considers distant relatives.

Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas aren't limited. This type of visa is available to spouses of citizens, orphans who are adopted by citizens or are being adopted by citizens, parents of a citizen who is at least 21 years old and unmarried children who aren't yet 21 years old of citizens.

Interestingly, in-laws, uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents are unable to sponsor a relative for the purpose of immigration. The sponsor for anyone who is seeking immigration must be at least 21 years old if the petition is for a parent or sibling. In other cases, there isn't any age requirement.

The first step to getting a family member here on a family-based immigration visa is to file the application. Ensuring you fill out the petition accurately and properly is vital. Working with someone familiar with the immigration process can help you to ensure you are doing what you need to do as you work toward obtaining the visa.

Source: Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State, "Family-Based Immigrant Visas" accessed Jan. 30, 2015

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