What Are the Benefits of Family-Based Immigration?
Family-based immigration allows families of American citizens and green card holders to reunite and live in the United States. Family-based visas account for nearly 70 percent of legal immigration every year.
Family-based immigration allows American citizens and green card holders sponsor family members to migrate and reside with them in the United States. Family-based visas include two relative groups:
Immediate relative family members:
- Spouses and unmarried children under age 21
- Orphan children adopted in their home country
- Orphan children being traveling to the United States to be adopted
- Parents over age 21
Distant relative family preference:
- Spouses of lawful permanent residents (green card holders), their minor children and unmarried children over age 21
- Unmarried children and their minor children
- Married children, their spouse and minor children
- Brothers and sisters, their spouses and minor children
The government makes available 480,000 family-based visas each year, up to 226,000 of which are earmarked for family preference visas to ensure more than just immediate family members are sponsored each year. While there is no limit to the number of immediate family member visas, the actual number issued is subtracted from the 480,000 cap to determine how many others will be admitted. Immigration law sets caps for each country as well, at seven percent per year.
In all cases, the citizen residing in the United States must initiate the visa petition, prove the legitimacy of the relationship, and provide evidence of financial responsibility for those they wish to sponsor. Relatives being sponsored must submit to a medical exam, vaccinations, background checks, and signed statements they will not rely on government assistance while living in the United States.
Once visas are issued, family-based immigrants benefit from the same rights and freedoms as natural-born citizens, such as living permanently in the United States, gaining employment, obtaining higher education degrees, local voting, and traveling freely through the country and internationally.
The family-based visa program benefits both immigrants and the United States, which has long maintained robust immigration programs. Family-based immigrants contribute to the economy, workforce, and business and urban development. According to the American Immigration Council (AIC), benefits include:
- Integration: Citizens and green card holders sponsoring family members play a vital role in the immigrant’s integration into the many thriving ethnic communities throughout the United States. Having a community support system from the same ethnic background helps new immigrants with resources for employment, housing, medical and financial assistance.
- Business development: Support from ethnic communities allow family-based immigrants to invest in their new home country and future. Many immigrants become entrepreneurs, business and company owners. Many American-based multi-million-dollar companies, such as Google, eBay, Intel, and more than half of Silicon Valley companies were founded by immigrants.
- Socio-economic status: Those arriving on family-based visas have statistically achieved a higher socio-economic status than those migrating under different visa types and are consistently the labor market’s fastest advancing work group.
- Revitalization: Throughout the country, ethnic communities have historically settled in rundown neighborhoods, eventually renovating, establishing businesses, community and religious centers, successfully revitalizing the area. Many large American cities are using ethnic communities as a guide for revitalization efforts in other parts of the city.
Older female family members play a significant role in the success of the community as a whole. Many provide child and health care and daily household needs, often unpaid, contributing to the workforce, success of younger family members and the family as a whole.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin P.C. Assist Clients Petitioning for Family-Based Visas
Reuniting American-based residents with their immigrant family members is vital to the successful future of all immigrants and their families, as well as to the United States’ economy, business development, and culture. If you want to petition to bring family members to the United States, the experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin P.C. can assist you. Call us at 215-925-4435 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation today. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and nationwide.