Family Immigration

what is family immigration?

Family-based immigration allows U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (“green card holders”) to petition for certain family members to obtain lawful permanent residency.  These family members can immigrate either as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen or through the family preference system.

immediate relatives of U.s. citizens

There is not a limit on the number of visas available for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and the visa can be acquired relatively quickly (subject to application processing) by submitting the appropriate forms and supporting evidence.

Immediate relatives include:

  • Spouses of U.S. citizens
  • Unmarried minor children of U.S. citizens
  • Parents of U.S. citizens over age 21

family preference system

Under the family preference system, family members of lawful permanent residents and non-immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are subject to (a limited number of visas) limitations on the number of visas that can be issued each year. These limits are released every month by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) in the Visa Bulletin. The following relatives are may qualify under the family preference system:

  • First Preference: Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
  • Second Preference: Spouses and unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents
  • Third Preference: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
  • Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens


Fiancés of U.S. citizens living abroad may be sponsored on a K-1 or K-3 visa. K-1 visas are granted on a temporary basis for the sole purpose of entry into the U.S. for the marriage to the U.S. citizen. K-3 visas are granted to allow entry to the U.S. for two years for the sole purpose of obtaining permanent residence through the spousal relationship.


If you are interested in sponsoring a family member listed above for lawful permanent residency you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be either a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident of the U.S.
  • You must have a qualifying relationship with the applicant
  • You must be willing to sponsor your relative by filing the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative form with USCIS
  • You must show that you can financially support your family household members as well as the sponsored family member at a level 125% above the poverty line or have a joint sponsor

how we can help

Petitioning for a relative to obtain legal status can be a very daunting task.  Many factors must be considered, and comprehensive and persuasive evidence must be submitted. The attorneys at Kayi & Wilkes PLLC are committed to helping U.S. citizens and permanent residents compile all the necessary paperwork and complete the procedural requirements they need to file a USCIS petition on behalf of their family member.

Determine the best method to obtain legal permanent residency

Sometimes the family member may be able to adjust their status while they are living in the U.S., and others may have to apply for a green card while outside of the U.S.  Our attorneys work with the family to determine which option is best based on a careful review of all of the factors, including issues of inadmissibility and waivers, location of the petitioner, and need for future travel while the petition is pending.

Prepare and file the petition or application

Our attorneys provide each client with detailed individualized evidence suggestions listing the documents and evidence necessary to provide the adjudicator with all the information necessary to support your petition. We also carefully review all evidence and affidavits for consistency and accuracy to ensure a higher rate of approval. Once all the evidence has been gathered, we will file the petition and necessary waivers.

Prepare and represent your family for the interview

In some instances the applicant will be interviewed through consular processing, while in other instances both the applicant and the sponsor will be interviewed by USCIS officials in the U.S. Our attorneys will prepare you for the interview so that you will have an idea of what to expect and be more comfortable during the interview. We will cover “problem areas” and in most cases go through a simulated interview with the applicant and/or sponsor.

Handle follow-ups and requests for additional evidence

Often times USCIS or consulates require follow-ups and/or additional evidence. Our attorneys will manage these requests and respond with expediency.


Let our attorneys help secure your safety, your family, and your future. Contact us for a consultation.