Out of all the relationships we can have in life, the connections we have with our families are some of the most important. Being able to share our lives with the ones we love drastically increases our quality of life, but if family members live in another country, sharing life experiences with them can be more difficult. Because of this, many people do their best to bring their families with them.
If you have been able to find or create a new life in the United States, it is reasonable that you would want to ensure that your family also has the ability to create their own lives here as well. Fortunately, the United States has developed programs that allow citizens to legally bring their families into the country. However, it is important to understand the types of family members before beginning the application process.
Types of family members
When it comes to bringing family members into the United States, it is important to know that U.S. immigration services give priority to some family members over others. The two types of family members are "immediate relatives" and "family preference relatives."
Immediate relatives include spouses of U.S. citizens, unmarried children under the age of 21, parents, and adopted orphans. It should be noted that same-sex and opposite-sex spouses are considered equally. Also, parents are considered as immediate relatives only after the U.S. citizen has reached the age of 21.
Every year, the United States only distributes a finite amount of green cards (documentation that shows that a person is legally living in the U.S.A.). However, immediate relatives are always considered for immigration, regardless of the amount of green cards that have or have not already been given out.
Family preference relatives
The primary difference between the immigration process for family preference relatives and immediate relatives is that family preference relatives are part of the overall pool of people who are considered for green cards. Because there is a finite number of available green card every year, there is potential for a long waiting period.
Family preference relatives are separated into different groups. They include,
· First Preference (F1) - Sons and daughters who are not married.
· Second Preference (F2) - Spouses and unmarried children of permanent residents (as opposed to U.S. citizens)
· Third Preference (F3) - Children of U.S. citizens who are married.
· Fourth Preference (F4) - Siblings of U.S. citizens.
Because of the potential for long waiting periods and the complexity of immigration laws, it is suggested that you seek out the services of an experienced and knowledgeable legal professional. They will be able to help you as you work to ensure that your family has the same opportunities you have had.