When an immigrant in Kentucky becomes a lawful permanent resident, or if a U.S.-born citizen has loved ones in another country, family reunification may be a high priority. After all, most people do not like being separated from their loved ones. U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents may petition to have a relative obtain a family-based visa. Under federal immigration law, some of these visas are unlimited, while others are limited.
When a family-based visa is sought for certain immediate relatives, the U.S. may issue an unlimited number of these visas. Immediate relatives who qualify under this category include the spouse of a U.S. citizen, a U.S. citizen’s unmarried child under age 21, orphans adopted from another country by a U.S. citizen and parents of a U.S. citizen who is age 21 or above.
Other family-based visas are limited, meaning only a certain number of them will be granted each year. These are known as family preference immigrant visas. Visas for unmarried children of U.S. citizens and their minor children are capped at 23,400. Visas for spouses, minor children and unmarried children age 21 and up of legal permanent residents are capped at 114,200, with 77 percent of these going to spouses and children. Visas for married children of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children are capped at 23,400. Finally, visas for siblings of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children, provided that the U.S. citizen is age 21 or up, are capped at 65,000.
As this shows, the relationship a sponsor has with the immigrant is important when it comes to pursuing a family-based visa. However, if qualified, obtaining a visa is the first step in the family reunification these citizens and their loved ones have been waiting for. Those in Kentucky who want more information on family immigration may need to ask questions about their specific situation.