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Family Immigration Lawyer Servicing New Jersey, New York and Indiana

There are two types of family-based immigrant visas provided under the provisions of U.S. immigration law as specified by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA): Immediate Relatives and Family Preferences.

Immediate Relative (IR) Immigrant Visas

Visas of this type are unlimited, meaning that the number of immigrants in this category is not limited each fiscal year. Immediate Relative visas can be obtained by individuals who are:

  • Spouses of a U.S. citizen (IR-1)
  • Unmarried children (under the age of 21) of a U.S. citizen (IR-2)
  • Orphans adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen (IR-3)
  • Orphans to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen (IR-4)
  • Parents of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old (IR-5)

It should be noted that same-sex spouses and their minor children are now eligible for the same immigration benefits as opposite-sex spouses.

Family Preference Immigrant Visas

These visas are for more distant family members of a U.S. citizen and for those in particular relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of the U.S. In this category there are numerical restrictions for the fiscal year which means they may take considerably longer to obtain. Family Preference Immigrant visas include:

  • Family First Preference (F1) which applies to unmarried (grown) children of U.S. citizens and their minor children
  • Family Second Preference (F2) which encompasses spouses, minor children, and unmarried grown children (age 21 and over) of LPRs.  
  • Family Third Preference (F3) which includes married children of U.S. citizens, their spouses and minor children
  • Family Fourth Preference (F4) includes 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

Unfair though it may seem unfair, neither grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws nor cousins can sponsor a relative for immigration. 

Reasons for Delays or Advances in Family-Based Immigration

Since there are numerical limits for family-based immigration categories, those at the end of the list will experience delays in processing. This means they may wait considerably longer to obtain their visas. On the other hand, if the sponsoring relative changes category, becoming, for example, a citizen instead of an LPR and applies for an upgraded type of visa, it is possible that the process may be accelerated.

Prerequisites for Family-Based Immigration

Sponsors of family-based immigrants must be at least 21 years of age and must maintain their principal residence in the United States. Their family members seeking visas must have the following documents:

  • Passports valid for 6 months beyond the proposed date of entry into the U.S. unless otherwise requested by the U.S. Embassy of their home country.
  • Affidavit of Support from the U.S. sponsor (Form I-864)
  • Application for Alien Registration
  • Two identifying photographs
  • Civil documents, such as birth or marriage certificates, with translations if necessary
  • Completed medical exam forms

Because of all the complexities surrounding family-based immigration, it is important to engage the services of a competent and caring immigration and nationality attorney to help see you through the process as expeditiously as possible.


National in scope, the business immigration law firm of NPZ Law Group represents clients from throughout the United States and around world. Regionally, our attorneys remain committed to serving the immigration needs of businesses in the Tri-state area and the Hudson Valley, including residents of Ridgewood, Newark, and Jersey City, Burlington County, Bergen County, Camden County, Cumberland County, Essex County, Hudson County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Passaic County, Salem County, Union County, northern New Jersey, southern New Jersey, central New Jersey, NJ; New York City, Rockland County, Orange County, Westchester County, Kings County, Sullivan County, Ulster County, New York, NY; Chicago, Illinois, IL; and Toronto and Montreal, Canada. Our nationwide practice focused on quality legal representation and personal service.



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| Phone: 866-599-3625

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