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Helping a family member immigrate to the United States can be stressful and time-consuming. Here at the Law Offices of Alice Antonovsky, you’ll find support from a team of immigration law professionals ready to help you accomplish the best possible outcome.
Learn About The Family-Based Visas

There are several visa categories for U.S. citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their family members for their own Green Cards. The categories include visa options for immediate relatives, eligible family members, spouses, and fiancé(e)s. Each category has specific eligibility requirements the applicant should meet. The first step is to determine the most appropriate visa category for your case.

In U.S. immigration law, family reunification typically refers to the process of obtaining a family-based visa. This is essential for the american immigration policy, as it helps promote family unity and a path for legal immigration status, strengthening communities and the economy.

We understand the process of helping a family member gain legal immigration status in the United States can be challenging. However, with careful planning and experienced assistance from our legal team, you can help your family member achieve their immigration goals.



There are several family-based visas available for eligible relatives of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents to immigrate to the United States.

The main rule to keep in mind is that U.S. citizens can file immigrant visa petitions for their spouse, sons or daughters, parents, brothers and sisters. However, permanent residents are limited to petition for their spouse and unmarried sons or daughters.

The available family-based visas include:

  • Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas: eligible relatives are spouses, unmarried children under 21 years of age, and parents of U.S. citizens. The good news is that there is no annual limit on the number of visas that can be issued under this category.
  • Family Preference Immigrant Visas: this category is for other family members that do not qualify as “immediate relatives”, such as unmarried sons or daughters over 21 years of age, married sons and daughters of any age, and siblings of U.S. citizens. Unlike the immediate relative category there is a yearly limit of visas that can be granted under the family preference category.
  • Fiancé(e) Visas: this visa category is for foreign nationals that can prove to be engaged to a U.S. citizen and has plans to marry in the United States.

The processing time for a family-based visa to the USA can vary depending on the specific visa category and the circumstances of the applicant.

In general, petitions for immediate relatives can be approved or denied within within a 6 to 12 month period after filing. However, this is not a set rule, it can take longer.

Family preference petitions on the other hand, can take 7 years or longer.

Some of the factors that can affect the processing time include:

  • The type of visa
  • The country of origin of the applicant
  • The demand for visas
  • The completeness and accuracy of the application

The processing times for family-based visas can range from several months to several years. This is why it is so important to make sure all paperwork is carefully completed and supported by the requested documentation.


Determine the appropriate visa category based on the relationship between the U.S. citizen or permanent resident and the person being petitioned.


Gather all supporting documents, which may include birth or marriage certificates or proofs of a relationship between the applicants, an affidavit of support, financial support, and other documents depending on the nature of the visa application.


Submit the forms and pay the application fees. Make sure to include all requested information and supporting documents to avoid unnecessary delays and mistakes.


Attend your visa interview. During this appointment a consular officer will interview you to determine your eligibility for a family visa. You should prepare before the interview to make sure you are able to provide clear answers pertinent to your case and application.

Note: You are not required to have an immigration lawyer to apply for a family visa in the United States. However, the process can be overwhelming and we advise you to seek the help of an experienced immigration law professional from the start.

  • Family reunification refers to the process that allows U.S. citizens and Green Card holders to reunite with their foreign national family members in the United States.
  • This is a fundamental principle of U.S. immigration law because it provides a pathway for legal immigration status and the opportunity for families to stay together and build a life as U.S. immigrants.
U.S. Family-Based Visas Frequently Asked Questions

Humanitarian parole is a special relief for foreign nationals to enter the country during emergency situations. As of February 2023, there is a special process in place for Ukranians, Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans to enter the United States through the petition of an eligible supporter.

The petitioning individual must be a U.S. citizen, national, lawful permanent resident, or temporary status holder that can demonstrate sufficient financial resources to support the beneficiary.

“Family Preference” is the family-based immigration option available for those that do not qualify as immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen.

The family preference category depends on the following specific family relationships:

  • First preference (F1): unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. Beneficiaries must be 21 years old and older at the time of filing the application.
  • Second preference (F2A): spouses and children of lawful permanent residents. Beneficiaries must be unmarried and under 21 years of age at the time of filing the application.
  • Second preference (F2B): unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents. Beneficiaries must be 21 years of age and older at the time of filing the application.
  • Third preference (F3): married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens of any age.
  • Fourth preference (F4): sibblings of U.S. citizens, provided that the U.S. citizen is at least 21 years of age.

Immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen can obtain lawful permanent residence in the United States through a family-based visa petition. To qualify as an immediate relative you must be the spouse of a U.S. citizen, the unmarried son or daughter under 21 years old of a U.S. citizen, or the parent of a U.S. citizen (the U.S. citizen must be over 21 years of age).

Popularly known as the K-1 visa, the fiancé(e) visa allows a foreign national to enter the U.S. to marry their U.S. citizen fiancé(e) within 90 days of entry.

Client Reviews
Michelle Holland
Michelle Holland
24. April, 2021.
I called desperately needing help finding the A-Number for a lost green card. Lital answered the telephone and quickly helped to resolve this problem. I was able to immediately complete the I-90 application. I will now refer all my immigrant friends to this law office!!! Thank you Lital!!!
Mircea Ghinda
Mircea Ghinda
9. December, 2020.
Alice is the best immigration lawyer I know. She managed my case very well and she kept me updated on my status all the time, that showed that in her office work only professional and skilled people. Alice and her team was constantly calling immigration to see if the case is moving as it should without any issues. I highly recommend others using this lawyer for their immigration needs.
Anthony Shepherd
Anthony Shepherd
4. August, 2020.
My Wife and I are absolutely pleased with Alice and her crew! We had only a marriage based application but Alice took it to the next level. She explained everything from the beginning to the final. She’s very knowledgeable , friendly and helpful. The whole office crew are helpful. Whoever is looking for a top immigration attorney, look no further! Prices are also reasonable. ?
Galyna Sas
Galyna Sas
28. July, 2020.
Alisa Antonovsky The most professional immigration lawyer that I know! Highly recommend. Easy answered on my question and gave me a properly direction with my case. Thanks a lot. She tries to understand the case in depth and listens carefully. Her advice is very much careful. Thanks for Everything thing you done for me! I will definitely recommend Alisa Antonovsky to my friends.
manuchehr saidov
manuchehr saidov
13. November, 2019.
Alice Antonovsky is extremely knowledgeable, professional and outstanding immigration attorney.Highly recommended!!!
Hamza12 Haider12
Hamza12 Haider12
17. October, 2019.
Brilliant lawyer worth it
Brianna K
Brianna K
16. August, 2019.
I reached out to Alice because I needed help with my green card application process. She was very knowledgeable, professional and friendly. Her staff was easy to communicate with and friendly as well. All of my questions were answered right away, everything was handled on time. Alice was very helpful at preparing me for the interview, accompanied me and made me feel calm. I'd highly recommend her services!

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