Applying for a Family Visa

Do you have a family member looking to join you in the United States? Do you have a family member visiting you temporarily in the United States who you would like to have join you in the U.S.? For family members looking to join loved ones in the U.S., there are a number of family-based visa options allowing them to immigrate here. Most commonly, the U.S. family member who is either a citizen or lawful permanent resident will need to petition for the visa on behalf of the family member. In other words, the U.S. based family member will need to act as their visa sponsor. There are, however, a number of specific requirements that must be met in order to be granted a family-based immigration visa.

Applying for a Family Visa

Before applying for a family visa, the applicant should review the eligibility requirements. This is true of both the sponsoring family member and the intended visa beneficiary. For instance, the sponsor is required to prove that they both meet certain income requirements and have secured adequate housing for the beneficiary in the U.S. This is a general family-based visa requirement as is having the beneficiary pass a medical examination. The aim of the medical exam is to help ensure that the beneficiary is free from any communicable disease(s) that would put the U.S. public at risk.

There are other requirements for family visa sponsors and beneficiaries, but many will depend on the specific type of family visa that is being pursued. For example, proof of parentage may be required for a child visa. Proof of marriage will be required for spousal visas. There may also be age requirements in order for a family member to be eligible for visa sponsorship. For example, parents can only sponsor a child for a family visa if the child is under 21 years of age.

After determining that both the sponsor and beneficiary meet the basic eligibility requirements for a family-based visa, the application process itself can begin. The application process will start with the sponsor filing a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Part of this petition will require the sponsor and the beneficiary producing proof of their relationship to the and, as previously stated, proof that the sponsor meets the income eligibility requirements.

Once the petition is filed with USCIS, USCIS reviews the case and should render a decision. Upon approval of the petition, it should be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will, in turn, send instructions to both the petitioner and the beneficiary as to the next steps included with the visa application process. The beneficiary will also need to be interviewed by a consular officer who may request the production of additional documentation and information. If the consular officer believes that the beneficiary satisfies all family-based visa requirements, then a visa should be issued.

Immigration Law Attorneys

If you have any questions about how the immigration and nationality laws in the United States may impact you or your family members or if you want to access additional information about the United States or Canadian immigration and nationality laws, please feel free to get in touch with the immigration and nationality lawyers at NPZ Law Group. You can send us an email at, or you can call us at 201-670-0006 extension 104. In addition, we invite you to find more information on our website at