For many foreign nationals, the easiest way to immigrate into the United States is through sponsorship by a family member. While the number of visas issued for certain family members is limited each fiscal year, no limitations exist for immediate relatives.
It is important for any person applying for a family-based green card or visa to make sure that all of their immigration paperwork is properly completed in order to minimize possible delays or other issues. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate the complex immigration process. Are you seeking a family-based immigration visa or green card in Southeast Texas? We can also help spouses, fiancés and children with visas. You should make sure that you contact The Gonzalez Law Group for capable assistance throughout the entire process. Call (832) 530-4070 today to have our attorneys review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.
Harris County Family-Based Immigration Information Center
- Types of Family-Based Immigration Cases in Texas
- Family-Based Immigration Limitations
- Harris County Family-Based Immigration Resources
Types of Family-Based Immigration Cases in Texas
As the U.S. Department of State notes, family-based immigrant visas are categorized into two groups under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Immediate relative visas are for immigrants with close family relationships and the government does not limit the number of immigrants that can be in this category each fiscal year (unlimited). This does not mean that the process is necessarily easy or quick and it is highly advised you seek the help of an attorney for any immigration matter.
Immediate relative visas include:
- IR-1 — Spouse of a U.S. Citizen;
- IR-2 — Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen;
- IR-3 — Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen;
- IR-4 — Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen; and
- IR-5 — Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old.
Family preference visas are subject to limitations on the number of immigrants that can apply each fiscal year. According to the Department of State, the limitations are as follows for each of the following kinds of family preference visas:
- Family First Preference (F1) — Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children, if any (23,400);
- Family Second Preference (F2) — Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) (114,200 — At least 77 percent of all visas available for this category go to spouses and children and the remainder is allocated to unmarried sons and daughters);
- Family Third Preference (F3) — Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children (23,400); and
- Family Fourth Preference (F4) — Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age (65,000).
Family-Based Immigration Limitations
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) governs immigration to and citizenship in the United States. The INA has been amended several times since its original passage in 1952, and the Act is part of the United States Code, the federal laws of the nation.
Title 8 U.S. Code § 1153 specifically deals with the allocation of immigrant visas. USCIS states that family-sponsored preference visas are limited to 226,000 visas per year.
Categories for visas are further divided into sub-categories. To distribute visas among all preference categories, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) allocates visas according to a prospective immigrant’s preference category, country of changeability, and priority date.
A priority date is used to determine an immigrant’s place in the visa queue. An immigrant’s priority date can be found on his or her Form I-797, Notice of Action, for the petition filed on his or her behalf, and the waiting time before receiving an immigrant visa or adjusting status will depend on the demand for and supply of immigrant visas, the per-country visa limitations, and the number of visas allocated for your preference category.
Harris County Family-Based Immigration Resources
Family-Based Immigrant Visas | State Department’s travel website — In this section of the U.S. Department of State website, you can find information about family-based immigrant visas. Learn more about minimum age requirements, numerical limitations, and fees. You can also find information about visa ineligibility, misrepresentation of material facts found, and how to apply for a Social Security card.
Family of U.S. Citizens | United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) — Visit this section of the USCIS website to learn how a United States citizen can petition for certain family members to receive a green card, fiancé(e) visa, or K-3/K-4 visa based on their relationships. View a table outlining the types of relatives for whom a person may petition. Find information about the application process and what comes next after applying.
Contact Family-Based Immigration Lawyers in Houston, TX
If you need help with an immigration issue for a family member in Harris County, it is in your best interest to quickly retain legal counsel. The Gonzalez Law Group represents individuals in the greater Harris County area including Pearland, Baytown, Seabrook, La Porte, Pasadena, Galena Park, Friendswood, and many others.
Our immigration attorneys in Houston understand the stringent requirements involved in these applications and know the best approaches for successful outcomes. You can have our lawyers provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (832) 530-4070 or complete an online contact form to set up a free, confidential consultation.