One of the benefits of U.S. citizenship or Lawful Permanent Resident status is being able to sponsor family members to join you in the United States. Green card holders’ immediate family and citizens’ extended family are eligible for family preference visas. However, the U.S. issues a limited number of family preference visas, and the wait for a visa number to become available can range from 2 to 24 years. Avoiding further delays through incomplete or inaccurate paperwork is critical.

If you wish to sponsor a family member for a family preference visa in Groveland, seek assistance from a local immigration attorney. An attorney from our firm could explain relevant procedures, help you complete your application, and offer support every step of the way.

Eligibility Under the Family Preference Category

Applicants for a visa in the family preference category must be able to document their relationship with their sponsor, who must be a U.S. citizen or green card holder, also known as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). A Groveland attorney could help a sponsor or applicant compile the information the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) needs to process a family preference visa application.


A citizen’s unmarried children over age 21 are eligible for a first-preference family visa. Although the U.S. does not restrict the number of visas it issues to citizens’ spouses and unmarried children under 21, it limits the number of F1 visas it issues annually to approximately 23,400.


A green card holder’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 are eligible for a second-preference family visa. The U.S. issues about 80,000 visas in this category annually.


This category allows green card holders’ unmarried children aged over 21 to immigrate. Approximately 34,000 visas every year go to the unmarried adult children of green card holders.


U.S. citizens’ married children and their minor children could immigrate on a third-preference visa. The U.S. issues 23,400 visas in this category annually.


A U.S. citizen’s siblings over age 21, their spouses, and minor children could immigrate on a fourth-preference family visa. Approximately 65,000 visas in this category are available every year.

Sponsor Must File an Affidavit of Support

Anyone sponsoring a family member must file Form I-864, an Affidavit of Support. The Affidavit is an enforceable contract obligating you to provide financial help to the relative you are sponsoring. You agree to provide them with enough money to meet their needs until they become citizens or have 40 quarters of credited work experience in the U.S., which is ten years.

A sponsor’s income must be at least 125 percent of the federal poverty level for households of the same size. You count the size of your household by counting yourself, family members who live with you, and the immigrant you are sponsoring. If you do not earn enough to meet this requirement, you may find a joint sponsor who agrees to share responsibility for your loved one’s financial support.

If the relative you sponsor ever receives means-based public benefits, you would be responsible for repaying the amount they receive. It is wise to speak with a Groveland attorney to ensure you understand the obligations of sponsoring a loved one for a family preference visa.

Work with a Groveland Attorney to Smooth the Family Preference Visa Process

Bringing your loved ones to live with you permanently in the U.S. might be a cherished goal. Although the U.S. encourages family reunification, the process of securing an immigration visa for a family member is lengthy and complicated.

If you seek a family preference visa in Groveland, speak with a local lawyer with experience handling the immigration system. They could explain the procedures and help you avoid some common pitfalls that could delay an application. Call today.