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Are changes coming to family based visa qualifications?

In our last couple of posts we have focused on immigration matters regarding certain types of workers. While many throughout the nation seem focused on passing new laws regarding employment immigration, there are likely many in the Miami area wondering what other options are available for those who do not meet that criteria. There are of course a variety of ways in which to approach obtaining a visa to the United States including those that are family based.

At this point in time family visas account for the highest number of legal entrances into the U.S. each year, or approximately two-thirds of the total number of immigrants who come to the United States annually. In contrast, employment visas currently account for 14 percent. At this point in time, a total of 4.3 million individuals are waiting for a family based visa.

Under the current immigration system the following family members of someone who is in the U.S. legally, may be able to come to the U.S. under a family visa:

  • Husbands or wives
  • Children under the age of 18
  • Children who are over the age of 21 but unmarried
  • Adult children who are married
  • Siblings

This list could change as a part of the much anticipated immigration reform. It is believed that the categories of siblings, as well as married adult children will be removed in the forthcoming proposal. The idea behind the potential change appears to be to free up room for visas for high-skilled workers from other nations.

As stated earlier, there is more than one way in which someone can seek a U.S. visa. An immigration attorney who stays on top of the seemingly ever-changing topic can likely help determine the best route to pursue.

Source: Washington Post, "Senate group considers large reduction in family visas as part of immigration deal," David Nakamura, March 14, 2013

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