[COLUMN] Family unification through family-based petitions

ANG family unification ay napakahalaga sa U.S. Immigration Law. Ang family-based immigrant category ay nagpapahintulot sa mga U.S. citizen (USC) at mga green card holder/lawful permanent resident (LPR) na mag-petition ng kanilang kapamilya para makarating sa U.S. na may immigrant visa. Kung ang mga kapamilya ay nasa U.S. na, maaaring silang makakuha ng green card sa pamamagitan ng family-based petition. Ang USC ay maaaring mag-petition ng mga sumusunod: (1) asawa; (2) binata o dalagang anak na wala pang 21 taong gulang; (3) binata o dalagang anak na higit na sa 21 taong gulang; (4) anak na may asawa; (5) kapatid, kung ang USC ay may 21 taong gulang na; (6) magulang, kung ang USC ay may 21 taong gulang na.

Ang LPR ay maaaring mag-petition ng mga sumusunod: (1) asawa; (2) binata o dalagang anak na wala pang 21 taong gulang; (3) binata o dalagang anak na higit na sa 21 taong gulang.

Ang mga beneficiary ay binibigyan ng kategorya para sa pagkuha ng immigrant visa ayon sa immigration preference system sapagkat may limitadong numero o quota ang mga immigrant visa bawat taon. Walang quota ang mga “immediate relative” ng USC. Ang mga “immediate relative” ay magulang, asawa, at mga binata at dalagang anak na wala pang 21 taong gulang ng USC. Ang ibang beneficiary ay kailangang maghintay ng visa number para sa kanilang green card ayon sa sumusunod na mga preference: First preference (F1): Binata o dalagang anak ng USC na higit na sa 21 taon gulang; Second preference-A (F2A): Asawa ng LPR, mga binata at dalagang anak na wala pang 21 taong gulang ng LPR; Second preference-B (F2B): Mga binata at dalagang anak na higit na sa 21 taong gulang ng LPR; Third preference (F3): Anak na may asawa ng USC; Fourth preference (F4): Mga kapatid ng USC.

Ang USC o LPR ay kailangang mag-file ng I-130 Immigrant Petition para sa beneficiary. Kapag ito ay naaprubahan na, ang mga hindi immediate relative ay kailangang maghintay ng visa number para ipagpatuloy ang proseso ng kanilang green card. Ayon sa February 2021 Visa Bulletin, ang maaari nang iproseso para sa mga family-based petition sa may country of chargeability na PHILIPPINES ay ang sumusunod: F1: Oktubre 22, 2012; F2A: Current; F2B: Abril 15, 2012; F3: Enero 8, 2003; F4: Oktubre 1, 2002.

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Family unification is an important principle under U.S. Immigration Laws. The family-based immigrant category allows U.S. citizens (USC) and green card holders/lawful permanent residents (LPR) to petition family members to the U.S. The USC may petition the following: (1) spouse; (2) unmarried children under 21 years old; (3) unmarried son or daughter over 21 years old; (4) married son or daughter; (5) brother or sister, if USC is at least 21 years old; (6) parent, if USC is at least 21 years old. The LPR may petition the following: (1) spouse; (2) unmarried children below 21 years old; (3) unmarried son or daughter over 21 years old.

The beneficiaries are classified into categories based on a preference system except for immediate relatives of USCs – parents, spouses, and unmarried children below 21 years old. The family members in the preference categories must wait for a visa number to become available according to the following preferences: First preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters over 21 years old of USC; Second preference-A (F2A): Spouses of LPR and unmarried children below 21 years old of LPR; Second preference-B (F2B): Unmarried sons and daughters over 21 years old of LPR; Third preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of USC; Fourth preference (F4): Brothers and Sisters of USC.

The USC or LPR has to file an I-130 Immigrant Petition for the beneficiary. Once it is approved, those in the preference categories need to wait for a visa number to continue the immigrant visa process. According to the February 2021 Visa Bulletin, the following family-based petitions with the country of chargeability, PHILIPPINES may be processed: F1: October 22, 2012; F2A: Current; F2B: April 15, 2012; F3: January 8, 2003; F4: October 1, 2002.

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ATTY. RHEA SAMSON is the principal of SAMSON LAW FIRM, P.C. She has been a member of the State Bar of California for over 15 years and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for over 20 years. Atty. Samson received her Legal Management degree from the Ateneo de Manila University and her Juris Doctor degree from the Ateneo Law School. She was a Professor for over 10 years, teaching Obligations and Contracts, Labor Laws and Social Legislation and Taxation Law. Atty Samson is the author of The Law on Obligations and Contracts (2016), Working with Labor Laws-Revised Edition (2014) and Working with Labor Laws (2005).

SAMSON LAW FIRM, P.C., 3580 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1710, Los Angeles, CA 90010; Phone: (213) 274-4561; Email: info@samsonlawfirmpc.com.

Atty. Rhea Samson
Atty. Rhea Samson

ATTY. RHEA SAMSON is the principal of SAMSON LAW FIRM, PC. She has been a member of the State Bar of California for over 15 years and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for over 20 years. Atty. Samson received her Legal Management degree from the Ateneo de Manila University and her Juris Doctor degree from the Ateneo Law School. She was a Professor for over 10 years, teaching Obligations and Contracts, Labor Laws and Social Legislation and Taxation Law. Atty. Samson is the author of The Law on Obligations and Contracts (2016), Working with Labor Laws-Revised Edition (2014) and Working with Labor Laws (2005). Visit our office at SAMSON LAW FIRM, P.C., 3580 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1710, Los Angeles, CA 90010; Phone: (213) 381-5710; Email: info@samsonlawfirmpc.com.

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