There are numerous ways that people can legally enter the United States. Some people come here as students to attend prestigious schools. Other people obtain a visa because of the skilled work that they do. Those fleeing war or persecution may qualify for asylum or refugee status.
Family immigration remains one of the most common ways that people enter the United States. There are numerous means for those with visas and green cards to help family members immigrate. Even those living in the country temporarily can often bring spouses and children with them. Those who are citizens of the United States have even more options.
The family preference visa program is a popular means for people to bring loved ones into the country. Who can enter the United States with a family preference visa?
If their family member is a citizen
When someone has a family member who is a citizen by birth or naturalization, they will have the strongest possible case for a family preference visa. The first preference category applies only to the unmarried sons and daughters of United States citizens. Not only must those children still be single, but they should also be under the age of 21.
The married children of U.S. citizens may also qualify to enter the country under the third preference category for family preference visas. The lowest preference category is the fourth preference, which may allow brothers and sisters of citizens to enter the country.
If their family member is a lawful permanent resident
Those who have obtained their green cards but have not become naturalized citizens can also help family members apply for a family preference visa. Both of the second categories apply to family members of lawful permanent residents.
The main second preference category allows green card holders to help spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 enter the country. There is also a subset of the second preference category that applies to unmarried sons and daughters over the age of 21.
There are multiple ways in which both green card holders and citizens can help loved ones who want to enter the United States, some of which may require more patience and paperwork than others. Learning more about family-based immigration can help you determine which program would work for your family’s needs.