There are two groups of family based immigrant visa categories: immediate relatives and family preference.

Immediate Relatives.

The number of immigrants in these categories is not limited each fiscal year.

  • Spouse of a U.S. citizen
  • Unmarried child under 21 of a U.S. citizen
  • Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen
  • Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen
  • Parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old.

Family Preference.

There are fiscal year numerical limitations on these categories.

  • Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children (23,400)
  • Spouses, minor children, and unmarried children (age 21 and over) of Green Card holders (114, 200)
  • Married children of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children (23, 400)
  • Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children (65,000)

Grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws and cousins cannot sponsor a relative for immigration.

Steps to Apply

  1. First step: a sponsoring relative file a Petition for Alien Relative Form I-130 with the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  2. Visa Interview: once the file is complete, the petition and documents will be forwarded to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where the applicant will be interviewed for a visa. Medical examination should be done at least 3 weeks before the interview date. Ink-free, digital fingerprints scans will be taken on the day of the interview. All the original civil documents and translations are returned to the applicant as well. A consular officer will make the final decision if an immigrant visa will be issued to the applicant at the time of interview.

How Long Does Take?

The length of time varies from case to case and cannot be predicted accurately for individual case. Family preference immigration visa cases take additional time because they are numerically limited each fiscal year. Generally speaking, immediate relatives categories take about 1-2 years. Family preference ranges from 4 – 10 years.

If you need assistance, contact Maxcan Immigration at our office in Markham. The Maxcan office is easily accessible from anywhere in the Greater Toronto Area.