Cupertino Family Immigration Attorney

Bringing Your Loved Ones to Santa Clara County

The United States is proudly a nation of immigrants and descendants of immigrants: Most Americans can trace their ancestry back to people who left their home countries in order to find economic prosperity and build a better life here. That tradition lives on strongly in Santa Clara County, where a high percentage of foreign-born persons reside, many of whom immigrated to the United States for a job or to be reunited with family.

In fact, family reunification is one of the four principles underlying current U.S. immigration policy. The others include admission of immigrants with needed skills, protection of refugees, and diversity of admissions by country of origin. Our immigration policy recognizes that it is in our interest as a nation for spouses, parents, children, adult sons and daughters, and siblings to be together. Indeed, for most, life here would not be complete without their family. Fortunately, if you have obtained a green card or have become a U.S. citizen, you may be able to sponsor a loved one to immigrate to the United States.

Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas

U.S. immigration law imposes a numerical limit on the worldwide level of immigrant admissions. The actual number of people that can immigrate from a given country is based on a complex set of numerical limits and preference categories that give priority for admission on the basis of family relationships, needed skills, and geographic diversity. "Preferences" means the priority in allocating immigrant visas according to family relationships (i.e., family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents), professional skills and accomplishments, and diversity of country of origin.

The total number of family-sponsored immigrants is limited to 480,000 annually. Immediate relatives, including non-citizens who are the spouses and unmarried children of U.S. citizens and the parents of adult U.S. citizens, are not subject to any numerical limit. Meanwhile, family-sponsored preference immigrants are limited to 226,000 worldwide.

Department of State publishes a Visa Bulletin each month. The Visa Bulletin shows the priority dates for the employment-based and family-based categories according to preference. Visas are issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition was filed. The filing date of the petition usually determines its priority date. A “current” priority date means that a visa is available; all approved petitions with priority dates before the preference cut-off date are deemed current. When a priority date is not current, no visa is available, even though the LPR petition has been approved.

Family Preference Visas

The four family preference categories, and the number of immigrant visas allocated to each, are as follows:

  • First preference: Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, which are subject to a numerical limit of 23,400 plus visas not required for the fourth preference category.
  • Second preference: (A) Spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents and (B) Unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents, which are subject to a numerical limit of 114,200 plus visas not required for the first preference category.
  • Third preference: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, which are subject to a numerical limit of 23,400 plus visas not required for the first or second preference categories.
  • Fourth preference: Siblings of U.S. citizens age 21 and over, which are subject to a numerical limit of 65,000 plus visas not required for the first, second, or third preference categories.

Contact an Immigration Lawyer in Cupertino

If you are a citizen or green card holder and are hoping to sponsor your immediate or family preference relative to immigrate to this country, you will normally first have to file an immigrant visa petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once the petition been approved, and an immigrant visa is available, your loved one can complete the process of obtaining their immigrant visa either through Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status, depending on whether they are still living abroad or, if present in the United States, are eligible to adjust their status here. To learn more about the process and get started on the case, contact the Cupertino immigration attorney at the Law Office of Timothy D. Widman. We can assist clients from all across Santa Clara, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Milpitas, Fremont, San Jose, and surrounding areas.