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Family-Based Immigrant Petitions

There are two (2) major categories in which family members may be sponsor to come to the U.S., Immediate Relatives and Non-immediate Relatives. 

  1. Immediate Relatives


    Immediate Relatives, which are parents, spouses, and children under 21 of U.S. Citizens, may be sponsor and come to the U.S.  Visas are readily available for immediate relatives, though there will be a waiting period for visa processing and pending applications.

  3. Non-Immediate Relatives


Non-immediate relatives are divided into 4 different preferences, from 1 through 4.  The number does not correspond to any one privilege over another.  Generally, the first preference is for children of U.S. citizens that are over 21 and are not married.  The second preference subcategory (A) is for spouses and children of permanent residents who are unmarried and under the age of 21.The second preference subcategory (B) is for children of Permanent Residents that are over 21 or are married.  The third preference is for children of U.S. Citizens that are married.  The fourth preference is reserved for brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens. 


U.S. citizens and permanent residents must file petitions on behalf of their relatives in the U.S., unless the sponsor is living abroad. Once the application is approved, the USCIS will transfer the application to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will process the application and it makes sure all documents requirements are met prior to transferring to the U.S. Consular abroad. The U.S. Consular will schedule an interview appointment for family members based on chronological order in the home country. The family member must visit a civil surgeon and the regional peace officer for medical testing, obtain vaccinations, and obtain any criminal records prior to attending the interview. If approved, an immigrant visa will be issued for the person to immigrate to the U.S.


Immigration Law is a vast area of law and every situation is unique. You should NOT rely on the limited information on this general site in replacing a personal consultation with an experienced Houston Immigration Lawyer. There may be legal issues, depending on the facts and circumstances, in which you may not be aware. Please feel free to give us a call at 713-517-6645, or to contact us online, for more information. Call the Houston Immigration Attorneys and the Spring Houston Naturalization Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham today at 713-517-6645 or complete our Contact Form.