Family-Based Visas Chicago
Family-based visa petitions are the most common method of facilitating immigration in the United States.
The family-based immigrant categories are limited to 4 preferences as defined by the Immigration & Nationality Act. The “Immediate Relative” category exists as well, and is not a preference category, so it does not have an annual quota. This is important because the preference categories usually have long waits for visas to become available because of statutory annual quotas limited the number of immigrant visas. Immediate Relatives include spouses of U.S. Citizens, minor children (under 21 years of age at the time the visa is granted) and parents of U.S. Citizens. If you wish to petition for an immediate relative, the visa is always immediately available, and the only delays will be the processing time for filing for adjustment of status (if your relative is in the U.S. and eligible to do that), or for the I-130 and Consular processing for the issuance of the approved visa abroad.
The other categories are the First Preference, which includes unmarried, adult children of U.S. Citizens (recall that minor children are Immediate Relatives, and therefore not part of the preference system or subject to numeric limitations). The Second Preference Category includes the 2A and 2B categories. The 2A Category is for children (under 21) of lawful permanent residents. The 2B category is for children of permanent residents who are over 21, provided they are single. There is no category for a married adult child of a permanent resident. There is, however, a category for a married child of a U.S. Citizen, and it is the Third Preference category. The Fourth and final Preference is for Siblings of U.S. Citizens.
The waiting period for a visa under the preference system is dictated by a publication called the Visa Bulletin. It is published by the State Department on a monthly basis.