U.S. Family Visa: What You Need To Know

Here is a little bit of useful information about the Family Visa category when applying for a Green Card to live in the U.S. It is by no means a comprehensive guide, but rather a starting point to hopefully help get through the mountain of information that there is out there about emigrating to America.

If you have any further questions, then feel free to contact me.

What You Need to Know

A U.S. citizen can petition (file the relevant paperwork and evidence) for a family member to come and live in America permanently. Which petition is filed depends on the category the family member qualifies under.

The U.S. citizen (petitioner) must begin the process of filing the relevant forms through the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Family Visa/Petition Categories

To qualify under the Family Visa category, you must be one of the following to a U.S. citizen:
✓    spouse – can include the children of the spouse who are unmarried and under 21
✓    fiancé(e) – this can also include the children of the fiancé(e) who are under 21
✓    child – a child is considered to be aged under 21 and unmarried
✓    son or daughter – they must be aged 21 or older, and/or married
✓    sibling  – the petitioner filing must be at least 21
✓    parents – the petitioner filing must be at least 21

Permanent residence (green card) is issued to/for (as outlined above):
✓    spouse
✓    child
✓    son or daughter
✓    sibling
✓    parents

Permanent residence (green card) is not granted to a fiancé(e), but once the marriage has occurred, an adjustment of visa (becoming a permanent resident/green card holder) is applied for.

visa prep paperwork

Filing a Petition

Filing a petition starts with filling out the relevant forms which can be found here. There will be requests for various pieces of evidence with the initial petition (proving the family connection etc) and the guidelines for what evidence is required and accepted can be found in the instructions that come with the forms you have to complete.

Evidence will also include a financial threshold that the petitioner (U.S. citizen) must meet to prove that they can financially provide for their relative who is joining them in America.

Once the USCIS has approved the initial petition, the case is moved on to the National Visa Center (NVC). An approval by the USCIS does not mean you have your visa – there will be more forms and evidence to provide for the NVC, and once they are satisfied with what the petitioner has filed, a medical examination and an interview at the nearest U.S. Embassy to the family member wishing to move to America is scheduled. It will be at the embassy interview that the final stage/issuance of a visa will be finally approved.

I have tried my best to provide enough information to get anyone started, but as with all things like this, there is much more to it, so if you have any particular questions, you can head to the USCIS website, or contact me and I will do my best to advise.

Good luck!


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