If you have family in the US who are US citizens and you have a family member who is willing to sponsor you to immigrate to the US, this information could help you understand what you need to do to begin the application process.
Who Qualifies or is Eligible for the Family Sponsorship Visa?
The family sponsorship visas are for individuals and families to sponsor family members to immigrate to the United States for permanent residency.
What is the Family Sponsorship Visa?
This visa allows US citizens to sponsor family members to move to the US and live there permanently. There are two types of family sponsorship visas for immigrants: immediate relative immigrant visas and family preference visas.
Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas
These visa types are based on a close family relationship with a United States (US) citizen described as an Immediate Relative (IR). The number of immigrants in these categories is not limited each fiscal year. Immediate relative visa types include:
IR-1: Spouse of a US citizen
IR-2: Unmarried child under 21 years of age of a US citizen
IR-3: Orphan adopted abroad by a US citizen
IR-4: Orphan to be adopted in the US by a US citizen
IR-5: Parent of a US citizen who is at least 21 years old
Family Preference Immigrant Visas
These visa types are for more distant, family relationships with a US citizen and some specified relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR).
There are fiscal year numerical limitations on family preference immigrants, shown at the end of each category. The family preference categories are:
Family First Preference (F1):
Unmarried sons and daughters of US citizens, and their minor children, if any.
Family Second Preference (F2):
Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of Lawful Permanent Residents.
At least seventy-seven percent of all visas available for this category will go to the spouses and children; the remainder are allocated to unmarried sons and daughters.
Family Third Preference (F3):
Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children.
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.
What is the Process for Family Sponsorship?
The sponsor, who must be a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident must file an I-130 form for their relative. This form must be accompanied by required documents and the prescribed fee. An interview will then be scheduled.
What are the Requirements for Family Sponsorship?
- US citizenship or lawful permanent residence or US national status
- A family relationship
- Any terminated previous marriages (if applicable)
- The bona fides of the marriage
- Proof of legal name change (if applicable)
- Two passport-style photographs (if applicable)
What is the Processing Time for Family-Based Immigration Visas?
Processing times for US family sponsorship visas vary depending on several factors:
- The office or service center responsible for processing the file
- The type of immigrant visa
- Family-based visa interview wait times (if applicable)
- Whether the applicant can qualify for an expedited interview appointment
- Whether Expedited processing is available
- Whether Premium Processing is available
- Providing insufficient or incomplete documents can lead to delays in processing and even denials
Top 10 Reasons for Refusal of the Family Sponsorship Visa Application
While there are many reasons why your family sponsorship application could be refused, we have listed the top ten most common ones here:
- Current and or past immigration status and history for the US or abroad, including overstaying and unauthorized employment
- Insufficient funds to support themselves during their stay
- Incorrect or incomplete petition
- Insufficient supporting evidence
- Conflicts with travel documentation
- Health concerns
- Suspicious of malicious intent
- Problems with background check
- Criminal history/Being convicted of a crime/Suspected or known ties to terrorism
- Material Misrepresentation