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Understanding the types of family immigration visas under US law

Miami residents who wish to bring family members into the country may be interested in information about family immigration visas. Depending on the type of relationship, the number who may enter the country in any given year could be limited.

United States immigration law recognizes two types of family-based immigrant visas. The types of family members covered under an immediate relative immigrant visa include a spouse and unmarried children that have not yet turned 21. Orphans who have been or are being adopted by a U.S. citizen may also be allowed into the U.S. under these visa laws. Lastly, a U.S. citizen's parent who is over 21 years old may get an immediate relative immigrant visa. U.S. law allows an unlimited number of immigrants who qualify under these categories every year.

More distant relatives of U.S. citizens may be able to enter the country on the limited number of family preference visas if they fall into one of the applicable categories. These include married and unmarried children of U.S. citizens, those children's spouses and those children's children may enter, but up to a limit of 23,400 visas is set in each fiscal year. Up to 65,000 siblings of U.S. citizens, along with their children and spouses, may be granted these visas every fiscal year. Lastly, lawful permanent residents may sponsor their spouses, children who are still minors and unmarried children who are over 21 for entry into the U.S. The law allows for 114,200 entries, but the vast majority of these entries will be for the minor children and spouses.

An attorney may be able to help U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents bring their relatives into the country. The attorney may be useful in determining eligibility and filing for the required family immigration visas.

Source: U.S. Department of State, "Family-Based Immigrant Visas", December 17, 2014

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