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A brief synopsis of the two categories of family-based visas

Family is often the defining element of one's life and, as such, those who have relatives living abroad may desire to have the family together in the United States. There are different categories of family-based visas, several of which are dictated by quotas. North Carolina residents who are seeking to bring loved ones to the country may gain an insight into the process by reading further.

The first classification for family immigration is the unlimited Immediate Relative. This category applies to those with a close family relationship to a U.S. citizen, such as a spouse, minor child or parent. The sponsor or applicant must be a U.S. citizen or, in very specific situations, a documented permanent resident. There is no quota associated with these visas; however, there are multiple steps involved in the process. The process begins with the application and encompasses many steps, including an interview and medical examination.

The next classification for family visas is the Family Preference Immigrant Visa. These visas are limited in number and are for those who have family ties in the United States, but whose familial relationship does not make them eligible for immediate relative status. The wait for approval could extend for several years. It is important to note that grandparents, aunts or uncles are not permitted to sponsor a hopeful immigrant.

Both of the above categories follow similar processes and also require specific documents, fees and medical clearances, as well as affidavits from the sponsor stating that the future immigrant will have secure housing and material support. Whether the loved one is a spouse or an adult child, the process can be overwhelming and sometimes frustrating, especially when dealing with an extended delay. North Carolina residents who are attempting to navigate the seemingly endless labyrinth of requirements needed for securing family-based visas can seek help from those skilled in unraveling the red tape imposed by the U.S. immigration system.

Source:, "Family-based Immigrant Visas", Nov. 28, 2014

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