DeLand Family Law & Criminal Defense Attorneys
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DeLand Immigration Law Attorney

Family Based Immigration

Probably one of the most important immigration issues that one will ever have to address involves their family members. In the United States, there are two categories of family immigrant visas and they include immediate relatives and family preference categories. These categories are covered under the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). For more detailed information on family immigration, contact a DeLand immigration law attorney.

Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas (unlimited) are based on close family relationships with a United States citizen and are described as an immediate relative or IR and they include:

  • IR-1 - The spouse of a U.S. citizen
  • IR-2 - An unmarried child of a U.S. citizen under the age of 21
  • IR-3 - An orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen
  • IR-4 - An orphan to be adopted by a U.S. citizen
  • IR-5 - The parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years of age

Family Preference Immigrant Visas (limited) are for specific, more distant relatives of a U.S. citizen, and there are yearly limitations imposed on family preference immigrants. Keep in mind that grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and cousins are not able to sponsor a relative for immigration.

Family preference categories include:

  • Family First Preference (F1) - This includes unmarried sons or daughters of U.S. citizens, along with their minor children.
  • Family Second Preference (F2) - Spouses, minor children, and unwed sons or daughters above the age of (21) of lawful permanent residents (LPRs). The majority of these visas will go to spouses and children, with the remaining going to unmarried sons or daughters.
  • Family Third Preference (F3) - Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, their spouse and any minor children.
  • Family Fourth Preference (F4) - Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, along with their spouse and minor children.

Immigration Petitions, Requirements and Sponsorship

The first step is for the sponsoring relative to file a Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130 with the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In certain situations a U.S. citizen who is living abroad may be able to file an immigrant visa petition outside the United States on behalf of their family member.

A U.S. citizen must be at least 21 years of age in order to file a petition for their siblings or parents; however, there is not a minimum age requirement to file a petition for any of the other family based immigrant visas. The U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident must be at least 18-years-old and have a residence in the U.S. before they can sign an Affidavit of Support, Form I-864 or I-864 EZ, which is required for a spouse or other relative of a U.S. sponsor.

When the number of qualified applicant visas for "family preference" exceeds the number of visas available, there is an immigration wait and the available immigrant visas will be issued in chronological order. The filing date of the petition is referred to as the "priority date." In which case, an immigrant visa cannot be issued until the priority date has been reached. For some, the waiting period could be as long as several years or more until the priority date has been reached.

In order for a U.S. citizen or LPR to sponsor a family member, they must have a principle residence (also called a domicile) in the United States, which is where they plan to live in the future. In order for a sponsor to file the Affidavit of Support, they are required to live in the U.S. with a few exceptions.

DeLand Immigration Lawyer

Under U.S. immigration law, immigrant visa applicants are required to undergo a medical examination by an authorized panel physician. They are also required to obtain certain vaccinations prior to receiving their immigrant visa. The length of time it takes to receive a family preference visa varies from case to case. What's more, if the applicant doesn't follow the directions correctly it can cause a delay in the processing. At Buckmaster & Ellzey, a DeLand immigration law attorney from our firm can help you streamline the application process. We have helped countless individuals get their family members in the United States by helping them with the application process and ensuring that all protocol is properly followed.

For assistance with a family immigrant visa, contact a DeLand immigration lawyer from the firm without delay!


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Buckmaster & Ellzey

110 W Indiana Avenue, Suite 203
DeLand, FL 32720

Phone: (888) 222-1679

Regular Hours
  • Monday - Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm
Deland Location

110 W. Indiana Avenue
Suite 203
Deland, Florida 32720