Family-Based Immigration

Two groups of family-based immigrant visa categories, immediate relatives and family preference, are provided under the provisions of United States immigration law, specifically the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  You can learn more about these two categories of immigrant visas on usvisas.state.gov.

To apply for an immediate relative or family preference immigrant visa, follow the steps on the Immigrant Visa Process page on usvisas.state.gov.  Once you have completed those steps, review the instructions given to you by the National Visa Center (NVC), along with the information presented on this website, for further guidance and instructions.

Persons seeking to immigrate in one of the immediate relative or family based preference categories will qualify for immigrant status only if they have the necessary relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident as described below.  Grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws and cousins may not sponsor a relative for immigration.

U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents may file Form I-130 with USCIS to establish the existence of a relationship to the following relatives who wish to immigrate to the United States:

U.S. Citizens Lawful Permanent Residents
Spouse Spouse
Unmarried children under 21 years of age Unmarried children under 21 years of age
Unmarried sons or daughters 21 years of age or older Unmarried sons or daughters 21 years of age or older
Married sons or daughters of any age
Brothers or sisters (U.S. citizen must be 21 years of age or older)
Mother or father (U.S. citizen must be 21 years of age or older)

 

A person who has been granted asylum or refugee status in the United States may also be eligible to petition for a spouse and/or unmarried children join him or her in the United States via a Follow-to-Join petition.  For information on this process refer to the Follow-to-Join page on travel.state.gov.