Here are Several Tips on How to Help a Family Member Obtain a Visa

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers a variety of different types of visas. Visas are documents that allow you to legally stay in the United States, on a temporary or permanent basis. One of the most popular ways to get a visa is through a relative. If you want to enter the U.S. legally, you need to learn how to help a family member obtain a visa.

Eligibility Requirements for Family Visas

In order to help a family member with immigration, you yourself must be a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident (green card holder), or a refugee granted legal asylum within the last two years. Additionally, members of the military may also be able to help relatives get visas. Immediate family members and, in some instances, your fiancé, may qualify for a visa of this type.

Immediate Family Members Qualify for Visas

Only immediate family members qualify for this kind of visa. Immediate family members include your spouse, your unmarried children under the age of 21, and your parents. Immediate relatives must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Additionally, Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, must also be filed. In addition to these forms, the applicant must also submit Form I-864, Affidavit of Support.

Other Family Members May Apply for Visas

Other family members are also able to apply for visas. However, other family members are provided visas based on preference. Preference categories apply to applicants based on the relationship to the sponsor. A limited number of visas will be granted in each category. It is important to note that submitting an application does not guarantee that you will receive a visa.

Preference Categories for Visa Allocation

The USCIS groups applicants into categories. These categories include:

  • First Preference – Unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens.
  • Second Preference (A) – Spouses of green card holders, and unmarried children of permanent residents.
  • Second Preference (B) – Unmarried adult children of permanent residents.
  • Third Preference – Married children of U.S. citizens.
  • Fourth Preference – Siblings of U.S. citizens.

The USCIS considers children to be under the age of 21. Adult children are those who are age 21 or over.

Help for Those Who Want Family Visas

There are many different visa options available to relatives of U.S. citizens or green card holders. The processing times may vary considerably. It is often helpful to review your visa options with a qualified immigration attorney. Contact the compassionate legal team at Udall Shumway PLC to learn more about family-based visas.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding How to Help a Family Member Obtain a Visa, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.