Family Preference Visas in PG County

Family preference visas are visas for other family relationships that exist between a petitioner and a beneficiary that are not immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen. Immediate relatives are the spouses of U.S. citizens, minor children or U.S. citizens, and parents of U.S. citizens (who are at least 21 years old). Family-based preference categories include other family members such as brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens,  married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, unmarried adult children over 21 of U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and spouses and minor children of permanent residents.

The purpose of these visas is to have other family relationships be able to come into the United States and receive lawful permanent resident status, and in the future, possibly apply for citizenship. If you or a family member require help with applying for family preference visas in Prince George’s (PG) County, schedule a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney for guidance.

How to Legalize a Family Member’s Stay

Those who are not immediate relatives do not have an immigrant visa immediately available for them. This means that they have to wait in a queue for a visa to become available for them. This queue is the visa bulletin that is issued by the State Department and it states who is eligible for a visa based upon the date the I-130 was filed.  This is called the “priority date.”

This means that if a non-immediate family member enters the United States and they want to apply for lawful permanent status, the question becomes how long must they wait for a visa to become available before they can apply for a Green Card? For instance, if the family member entered as a tourist, it is unlikely that they will be able to have an I-130 filed for them, have that I-130 approved, and have the I-130 to have a visa available during the period of time they are permitted to be inside the U.S. as a tourist.  This is because one has to  maintain lawful status to apply for a Green Card inside the U.S. on the basis of a family-preference category.

If the non-immediate family member enters as a student, then what they have to do is maintain that student status until such time as a visa becomes available for them in their preference category.

What are the Family Preference Categories?

To be entered into a family preference category, the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident relative submits an I-130 on their behalf. Individuals can be entered into the following categories:

  • Category one;
  • Category two;
  • Category three; or
  • Category four

Category one is reserved for unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. This includes US citizen’s sons and daughters who are over 21. Category two is split up into F2A and F2B. F2A includes spouses and children of permanent residents and F2B includes unmarried sons and daughters over the age of 21 of permanent residents.

Category three includes married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. Lawful permanent residents are not permitted to petition for married sons and daughters. Lastly, Category four is for brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens who are 21 and over. Lawful permanent residents are not permitted to petition for their siblings.

What is the Significance of a Receipt Notice in Regard to the Family Preference Category?

The receipt notice is the acknowledgment issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that lets individuals know their priority date. The priority date is the date that USCIS receives the I-130. The priority date is the date the intending immigrant will use to compare to the visa bulletin issued by the State Department.

The receipt notice also lets individuals know whether the petitioner was a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. It will also let them know that the proper fee was paid for the application and with the receipt number, the intending immigrant can track the application online at If beneficiaries have this information on-hand not only will they be able to track the application, but if the receipt is misplaced, they will be able to use that number to file a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain a duplicate copy of the I-130 receipt or approval notice.

Get in Touch with a Skilled Attorney

Applying for legal status of any kind is never an easy task. Although the U.S. makes it possible for individuals to immigrate to this country, the process often takes years to complete. As a result, applicants looking to obtain family preference visas in PG County should do so with the help of a dedicated attorney at their side. To learn more about how an attorney can help, schedule a consultation today.

Family Preference Visas in PG County

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