Family-based immigration constitutes one of the principal means of immigration to the United States. Family members can immigrate either as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen or through the family preference system. Immediate relatives face no cap or quota on the number of visas available each year and can obtain immigrant visas fairly quickly by submitting the appropriate forms and evidence of the qualifying family relationship to the USCIS. Immediate relatives include: (i) spouses of US citizens, (ii) unmarried minor children of U.S. citizens, and (iii) parents of U.S. citizens over age 21. Under the family preference system the following persons may qualify for immigration: (i) adult children (unmarried and married) of U.S. citizens; (ii) brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens; (iii) spouses of LPRs; and (iv) unmarried children (both minor and adult) of LPRs. Nevertheless, under the U.S. quota system, there are only a limited number of visas available every year and intending immigrants may face lengthy delays before a visa becomes available. Christmann Legal attorneys will prepare and submit all necessary forms, including applying for accompanying benefits such as travel and work authorization.
The Department of State is responsible for administering the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) relating to the numerical limitations on immigrant visa issuances. Visa allotments are made only on the basis of the total applicants reported documentarily qualified each month. Demand for visa numbers can fluctuate from one month to another, with the inevitable impact on cut-off dates.