After immigrating to the United States, it is natural for you to want to reunite with those you love. Yet based on what you know about the immigration process, the prospect of that actually happening may seem daunting.
Fortunately, this is a scenario where federal law is seemingly on your side. One of the stated purposes of U.S. immigration policy is to reunite families. For this reason, family immigration quotas exist to assist in the process.
Reuniting with your spouse, kids or parents
According to the American Immigration Council, immigration officials do not limit the number of family-sponsored preference visa applications available to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. Thus, regardless of whether you are a native or naturalized citizen, federal officials treat the visa application of your spouse, minor child or parent with priority. In the case of a parent, you need to be at least 21 years old to sponsor their application.
The family preference system
What about other relatives who wish to join you in the U.S.? The federal government allocates a specific number of visas every year for the purpose of family immigration. The breakdown of that allocation is as follows:
- Unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens: 23,400
- Spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents: 87,900
- Unmarried adult children of legal permanent residents: 26,300
- Married adult children of U.S. citizens: 23,400
- Siblings of U.S. citizens: 65,000
These numbers are not static. They depend on the number of visas issued to immediate relatives from the previous year (as well as the number of aliens paroled in the U.S.). The total number of visas available through the family-sponsored preference program in a given year, however, cannot be lower than 226,000.
Immigrating to the U.S. doesn’t mean you have to live without the people you love most. An experienced immigration attorney can help you get the ball rolling on bringing your family to be here with you.