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Family preference visas are for specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen. Family preference visas have different categories that someone could be eligible to apply for. Understanding family preference visa categories in St. Louis is essential to ensure that you are able to go through the process without any issues. To learn more about the categories, contact a seasoned family visa lawyer today.

Categories Available for Family Preference Visas

The first part of understanding family visa categories in St. Louis is knowing that there are four different categories for family preference visas. Each category is for a specific relationship that one may have with the U.S. citizen. An experienced attorney will be able to help explain how a category applies to one’s situation.

Family Preference Number One

Family-sponsored preference category number one (F1) is limited to the unmarried sons and daughters of a U.S. citizen. In this situation, the U.S. citizen has a son or daughter who is over the age of 21 and is not married. There are 23,400 of these types available visas available every year.

Family Preference Number Two

Two types of groups of people are included in family-sponsored preference number two (F2), the first group includes the spouses and children of a permanent resident. While there is an unlimited number of green cards or immediate immigrant visas available for the spouses and children of U.S. citizens, that is not the case for a permanent resident. The first category of F2 preference category covers the spouses and children under the age of 21 of permanent residents. The second category within the F2 preference category includes the unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents. A permanent resident can sponsor a son or daughter over the age of 21, but only if they are not married. A married son or daughter cannot be sponsored by a permanent resident.

Family Preference Category Number Three

Family preference category number three (F3) includes the married sons and daughters of a U.S. citizen. While the F1 category comprises the unmarried sons and daughters, the F3 category, which is the family-based third preference, consists of the married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.

Family Preference Category Number Four

Family preference category four (F4) are the brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens. This category has the biggest delays. There has been much talk about this category in Congress and doing away with the ability of U.S. citizens to sponsor their brothers and sisters. This category currently takes anywhere from 23 years to 13 years to adjudicate.

How to Apply to be Entered in a Family Preference Category

After understanding family preference visa categories in St. Louis, an individual may then want to apply by filing the I-30 Petition for Alien Relatives. For this, they need to have a U.S. citizen file the application on their behalf and submit the I-30 to Immigration Services. The USCIS is in no rush to decide these cases, therefore, it may take up to three or four years before a decision is made.

Sometimes people move after submitting a petition and that could be a problem because they may lose track of their case or have their case denied because they did not pay attention to it. Another issue one may find themselves in is when they did not submit the right amount of evidence when applying.

Quota for Family Preference Visas

It is important to know that there is a quota for family preference visas. Congress has limited the number of visas available in each of the preference categories. The numbers have not been updated in decades and this created the current backlog. Congress refuses to take action to expand the number of visas available. In theory, this is what has caused much illegal immigration because people have no other way to come to the United States.

There is talk in Congress of eliminating many of the non-immediate relative family-based petitions and eliminating some of the immediate relative-based petitions. There has been some talk about doing away with the ability of a U.S. citizen to sponsor their parents, brothers, sisters, and adult children.

A restriction is in Congress to limit the number of immigrants who come into the United States. The discussion has focused on attacking these categories and the numbers are certainly not going to expand. If anything, they could go down or be eliminated. Understanding family preference visa categories in St. Louis may be complex, therefore, you may want to consult with a dedicated lawyer.