November 10, 2021

What are the Family-Based Preferences?

kid and mom holding the united states flag

What are the Family-Based Preferences?

United States citizens have the legal right to sponsor relatives and children under 21 years for permanent residence immigrant visas, which fall under the “immediate relatives” category. Those who do not qualify for this category fall under the Family-Based Preference category, which only accepts a few applicants each year according to Sacramento immigration lawyers. The result is a lengthy backlog for those seeking permanent citizenship.

Keep reading to learn who falls in the Family-Based Preference group, if you qualify, and what the next steps are if you fall into this category.

What are the Family-Based Preferences?

When an applicant cannot be considered an immediate relative, they must apply under one of the four categories. While the “immediate relatives” category does not have a cap on the number of issued visas, each of the Family-Based Preference categories does. Since numerical caps exist, petitions are ranked on a “first-come-first-serve basis” according to Sacramento family-based immigration attorneys. This numerical cap has created lengthy waiting periods to acquire a visa in most categories. The application date is known as the priority date.

Determining the four categories within the Family-Based Preference bucket relies on two factors:

– Whether the sponsoring individual is a lawful permanent resident or a U.S. citizen.

– The dependency and closeness of the relationship between the relative and immigrant.

According to a family-based immigration lawyer Sacramento, if the number of applicants exceeds the number of available visas within a specific category, this section is considered oversubscribed. The government will start with the next priority date the following year so a visa cannot be issued until the priority date is reached. Therefore, there is a lengthy waiting period that could exceed several years.

Who is Considered a U.S. Citizen?

Any individual born in the United States can claim U.S. citizenship. Those born in other countries but who have a naturalized or parent native to the U.S. or one who was a U.S. citizen at the time of birth, are also considered citizens. A family-based immigration lawyer Sacramento notes that before filing a Family-Based petition, it is critical to consult with the consular office to ensure all your information is in good standing. Also, always wait until the petition has been approved before acting on it. In many instances, applicants make final travel arrangements, eliminate assets, and leave jobs only to discover the petition has been denied. A Sacramento immigration attorney can assist with these points.

Do You Qualify?

To qualify for a family-based preference Green Card, you must do the following:

– Accurately complete all paperwork.

– Be eligible to receive an immigrant visa.

– Be physically present at the time of filing.

– Confirm none of the bars apply to you.

– Confirm you are admissible to the U.S. for permanent residents.

– Ensure an immigrant visa is available at the time of filing.

– Ensure the relationship with the petitioner exists.

– Merit the favorable exercise at the U.S. government’s discretion.

– Show proof of inspection and admittance into the United States.

What is the Next Step?

The complexity of the green card process is high and can be confusing for many applicants. For this reason, it is always advisable to hire an immigration attorney in Sacramento who can help navigate these confusing treacherous waters. An immigration law firm Sacramento will ensure the paperwork is correctly completed so you do not receive a rejection and need to restart the process. Also, an immigration attorney can help expedite the process by several weeks due to their paperwork efficiency and internal networking. Finally, a seasoned immigration attorney will help you prepare for the interview, so you are accepted by the government.

To learn more about this process, contact the Manzoor Law Firm today!