Family based immigration can be divided into immigration of family of U.S. citizens and immigration of family of Lawful permanent residents (LPR) of U.S.A. and on special family situations like Battered spouse or child or parent of a U.S. citizen or “LPR” based on certain conditions, “K” nonimmigrant (which includes Fiancé (e) and adopted child of U.S. citizen), persons born to a foreign diplomat in the U.S., “V” nonimmigrant, widow(er) of a U.S. citizen etc. and some other special categories related to armed forces.

A U.S. citizen can sponsor immigration of his relatives:

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried Children under 21 years
  • Sons and Daughters married and/or over 21 years
  • Parents (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years old or above) under immigrant (K-3/K-4) visas which are changed later to Permanent Residence or straightaway apply for Visa with permanent residency.

Or family members like:

  • Siblings (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years old or above)
  • Spouse and minor children of spouse under non-immigrant (K-3/K-4) visas until their permanent residency matters are finalized by USCIS.
  • A Fiancé(e) who is residing outside the U. S. and her unmarried and under 21 years age children by using a Fiancé(e) Visa which can later be changed to green card on approval of USCIS.

A green card holder or Lawful Permanent Resident can sponsor the immigration of his immediate relatives and few of his other family members:

  • Spouse.
  • Unmarried children under the age of 21 years.
  • Unmarried son or daughter of any age.


  1. The U.S. citizen or the Lawful permanent resident has to file a petition with the USCIS for establishing the family relationship between you and your relative by filling Petition for Alien Relative/Form I-130.
  2. After getting the approval for the above petition:
    • immediate relatives of U.S. citizens can readily get immigrant K-3/K-4 visas along with Permanent residence application from U.S. embassies or consulates or get Adjust status (status of residency) if they are already in the U.S. (both) by filing the Form I-485.
    • Other family members of U.S. citizens and immediate relatives and other family relatives of Lawful Permanent Residents get approval for filing immigrant visas or “Adjust of status” (Form I-485) based on preference categories in the order of preference.

Preference categories are as follows:

  • First preference – Unmarried, adult (21years of age or older) sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
  • Second preference (2A) – Spouses of green card holders and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of green card holders
  • Second Preference (2B) – Unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents
  • Third Preference– Married sons and daughters (any age) of U.S. citizens
  • Fourth Preference – Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens.

National Visa Centre (NVC) informs the concerned nearest embassy or consulate in the foreign citizen’s country about his/her approval and he/she gets visa from there or “adjust status” if in U.S.

Gavlin & Associates, P.C., NY are specialists in processing of documents for family visa and green card and we will give you the best guidance and assistance in this field.