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3 FAQs about family-based immigration

When separated from family, it comes with an emotional toll. The complex nature of immigration laws adds to that stress.

According to Homeland Security, family-based immigration accounted for 51% of admissions for lawful permanent residents in 2022. If you hope to reunite with your family, understanding immigration nuances may help you better deal with the process.

1. What does family-based immigration mean?

This type of immigration allows a permanent resident to bring family members into the United States. In general, the resident sponsors the family member to help them obtain a green card. The process can include an immediate relative or a more distant family member. Both of these types of visas have a limited number each year.

2. What does the process involve?

The process requires the permanent resident to file an immigration request with the federal government. This includes filling out Form I-130. If approved, the family member hoping to come to the U.S. gains eligibility to file for a green card. Since the U.S. only has so many visas available, this process usually involves a backlog of people waiting for visa approval.

3. How long we will have to wait?

The wait varies for each case. Typically, anytime you file, you get placed on a waiting list. The government uses a priority date to determine visa eligibility, which typically falls on the date the government accepted the I-130 form. Additional complexities and factors play into how soon a person receives a visa. While in some instances it may only take months, other situations may involve years.

Although frustrating, preparing yourself for a long process may help ease the situation.