Family Based Petitions


According to the United States Citizens and Immigration website, a total of 451,551 relative petitions were filed in 2017.  Of these, a little more than half are approved.  Having a family member petition for you and sponsor you is one of the most common ways to obtain your permanent residency in the United States. However, immigration laws are complex and applying for a family based petition can prove difficult and frustrating. Furthermore, submitting an incomplete or erroneous application can result in a denial of your application. On December 15, 2017 the White House press release website released the following statement:

“Most green cards in the United States are awarded based on an antiquated system of family ties, not skill or merit. This system of Chain Migration – whereby one immigrant can bring in their entire extended families, who can bring in their families and so on – de-skills the labor force, puts downward pressure on wages, and increases the deficit. Chain Migration also undermines national security, by failing to establish merit-based criteria for evaluating entrants into the United States – instead, familial relations are all that is required to obtain a green card and, in turn, become a voting U.S. Citizen within a short period of time, with access to Federal welfare and government benefits. It’s time for an immigration policy that serves the national interest. END CHAIN MIGRATION.”

in fact, “ending chain migration” has become one of the four pillars that the White House demands be part of any bill to protect the 690,000 young unauthorized immigrants affected by Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The Law Office of Luis Mariano Garcia, P.A.  has the experience and personnel to help assure that your application is filed accurately and professionally, thereby granting you the best opportunity to bring your family together, as fast as possible.

Same Sex Marriage

The Supreme Court found section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. Effective immediately, U.S. Embassies and Consulates will adjudicate visa applications that are based on a same-sex marriage in the same way that we adjudicate applications for opposite gender spouses. This means that the same sex spouse of a visa applicant coming to the United States for any purpose – including work, study, international exchange or as a legal immigrant – will be eligible for a derivative visa. Likewise, stepchildren acquired through same sex marriages can also qualify as beneficiaries or for derivative status.  At this time, only a relationship legally considered to be a marriage in the jurisdiction where it took place establishes eligibility as a spouse for immigration purposes. Therefore, domestic partners are not eligible to apply for a derivative visa.

What Are Family Based Visas?

USCIS grants a limited number of family based visas each year. Family-based immigration requires the participation of at least two family members, a petitioner and a beneficiary. The petitioner must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who wants to sponsor a foreign family member for a green card. The beneficiary is a foreign family member who wants to obtain a green card. In some cases, the beneficiary may have a spouse and children that qualify as derivative.

The visas are based on family relationships and are granted in order of preference as follows:

First Preference

*Includes spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents are considered immediate relatives and there is no wait time

*Unmarried children over the age of 21

Second Preference

*Includes immediate relatives such as spouses and unmarried children of all ages of permanent legal residents

Third Preference

*Married children of US Citizens

Fourth Preference

*Siblings of US Citizens

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

Other Family Based Visas

Spouse and Fiancé Visas are available for US Citizens who are engaged to or marry a foreign national abroad.  These are called K visas and have numerous requirements.

*Information obtained from the US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs website:

Learn More

The Law Office of Luis Mariano Garcia, P.A., specializes in family visas and will help prepare your application accurately and professionally.  Like you, we cherish our families and our goal is to help reunite you with yours as quickly as possible. If you would like to petition a family member, contact us for a consultation.