As the primary basis for immigrants to legally come to California and the rest of the United States, family-based immigration is extremely important. According to the National Immigration Forum, immigration law states that lawful permanent residents and citizens of the United States can sponsor family members for something known as a green card. Green card is another name for a visa that gives permanent residence to an immigration.

When it comes to family visas, there are two groups who are eligible for application. The first is immediate relatives, which can include the following:

  • Orphans adopted abroad
  • Unmarried children of United States citizens under 21
  • Spouses of United States citizens
  • Parents of United States citizens who are 21 years or older
  • Orphans who are going to be adopted when in the United States

The second group eligible for a family visa comes in the form of family preference categories. The first group in this category includes sisters and brothers of United States citizens, their minor children and spouses if the sponsoring citizen is over 21 years of age. The second group is married daughters and sons of United States citizens and their minor children and spouses. The third group includes minor children, unmarried daughters and sons over 21 and spouses of lawful permanent residents. Finally, the fourth group includes unmarried daughters and sons of United States citizens, their children and their spouses.

If at any time the number of applicants exceeds the number of available visas, the United States Department of State confirms that there can be what is called an immigration wait. If this occurs, the available visas are given based on when the petitions were filed in chronological order.