What is a Family Based Visa and Who Qualifies?

Family based visas are immigrant visas reserved for relatives of US Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (Green Card holders). The two steps in applying for lawful permanent residence in the US (a Green Card) are i) not be inadmissible, and ii) establish eligibility within one of the categories by establishing your relationship to a qualifying relative as either a spouse, child, or parent.

Foreign nationals who are inadmissible include those with certain criminal history, diseases, and those who are likely to be a public charge. A public charge is someone who is dependent on the government. An affidavit of support from the sponsor, or a joint sponsor can allow a foreign national who otherwise has no financial means, to not be considered a public charge.

There are two main classes of relative petitions; “immediate relatives” and “preference relatives.” The difference between immediate relative petitions and preference relative petitions is that preference relatives must wait until theirĀ priority date ” (see the visa bulletin for more details) is current before they can apply for an entry visa or before they can apply for adjustment of status in cases where they are already lawfully in the United States.

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Shah Peerally is an attorney licensed in California practicing immigration law and debt settlement. He has featured as an expert legal analyst for many TV networks such as NDTV, Times Now and Sitarree TV. Articles about Shah Peerally and his work have appeared on newspapers such as San Jose Mercury News, Oakland Tribune, US Fiji Times, Mauritius Le Quotidien, Movers & Shakers and other prominent international newspapers. His work has been commended by Congress women Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Lee. He has a weekly radio show on KLOK 1170AM and frequently participates in legal clinics in churches, temples and mosques. His law group, Shah Peerally Law Group, has represented clients all over the United States constantly dealing with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Custom Enforcement(ICE) and CBP (Customs Border Patrol (CBP) under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This department was formerly known as the Immigration and Nationality Services (INS).