Immigration Insights: Family Visas - Who Can Apply?

The family visa, also known as the form I-130 visa, is a deeply misunderstood form of legal immigration. Often derogatorily referred to as “chain migration,” the true method of application and immigration through this method is far more complex. 

The first misconception that often comes with the discussion of a family visa is who the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is willing to acknowledge as “family.” Under USCIS regulations, family visas can only be granted to either the spouse, child, or parent of a U.S. citizen. A permanent resident may petition for a spouse or unmarried child. 

For people petitioning for family visas, preference is given to certain groups of family members applying. The USCIS has split the family preferences into four categories:

  • First preference: unmarried children 21 or older of U.S. citizens
  • Second preference: spouses and children under 21 of permanent residents
  • Third preference: married children of U.S. citizens
  • Fourth preference: Siblings of U.S. citizens

There is also a subsection of second preference that covers children of permanent residents over 21. Additionally, the fiance of a U.S. citizen can also apply for a special fiance visa that exists separately from normal family visas. It should also be noted that as of July 1, 2013, same-sex spouses do qualify for the family visa process.

Even if the U.S. citizen or permanent resident has a family member who fulfills the criteria laid out by the USCIS, their troubles may not be over. Complications arising during the filing process or rejections by the USCIS can delay the arrival of a family member indefinitely. For this reason, it is important to have an authority on immigration law, such as an immigration attorney, review the application or consult on the process in order to flag any issues before they are presented to an official reviewer. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with the immigration process, contact an immigration attorney to help clarify the process and ensure the best possible outcome for your spouse, child, or sibling. 

Featured Immigration Law Lawyers

AMA Law Group PLLC

Google rating
13 years in practice
Criminal Defense, Divorce & Family Law, Immigration Law, Personal Injury, Social Security Disability
View Profile


Google rating
10 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Deportation Defense, Immigration Law, Personal Injury
View Profile

Law Office of Elizabeth Anu Lawrence LLC.

Google rating
16 years in practice
Criminal Defense, Immigration Law, Personal Injury
View Profile

Orange County Personal Injury Attorney

Google rating
22 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death
View Profile

Ibrahim Law Firm

Google rating
11 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Bankruptcy, Personal Injury
View Profile

JSM Injury Firm APC

Google rating
4 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Premises Liability, Wrongful Death
View Profile

Related Posts

Attorney At Law is changing how clients connect with lawyers. By providing an innovative platform to lawyers who want to expand their practice’s reach, AAL is bringing law practices into the future.
6142 Innovation Way
Carlsbad, California 92009
Some of the content of this website may be considered attorney advertising under the rules of certain jurisdictions. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.
crossmenuchevron-upchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram