Family Immigration Matters: What Is The Difference Between A Beneficiary And A Petitioner?

Family immigration is a complex matter with its own complex vocabulary and rules. As you consider starting the immigration and family petition process, it's important to learn some of the terms and basic concepts. The more that you understand about the process, the easier it will be for you to find a capable immigration lawyer.

What is the difference between a beneficiary and a petitioner?

A beneficiary is a person who has been named in a petition to live in the United States. The petitioner is the person who submits the application to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). In the case of a family petition, the petitioner and beneficiary must be relatives.

Who qualifies to be a beneficiary in a family immigration petition?

Immediate relatives of the petitioner may be eligible to immigrate to the U.S. without being restricted for numerical reasons (such as a cap on the number of immigrants allowed into the United States in a single year). Because the number of immediate relatives of citizens who can immigrate to the United States is not limited by quantity, visas for immediate relatives are referred to as "unlimited family preference visas."

Who qualifies as an "immediate relative"?

Immediate relatives are spouses of United States citizens, parents of citizens (if the citizen is older than 21 years of age), and children of citizens (if the child is under 21 years of age).

Are non-immediate family members ever admitted under a family petition?

Each year, limited numbers of non-immediate family members can acquire a visa under a family petition. The types of family members who can be granted a visa are grouped by preference, and each preference group has a cap on the number of applicants who will be accepted. These preference groups include:

  • adult unmarried children of U.S. citizens (first preference)
  • spouses, minor children and unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents (second preference)
  • adult married children of U.S. citizens (third preference)
  • siblings of citizens and their spouses and minor children (fourth preference)

Immigration issues are complex and difficult for untrained individuals to navigate, which is why it's important to get an attorney to help. Getting an immigration attorney's assistance can ensure that the proper rules are followed, the right paperwork is filled out, deadlines are met, and the right person applies to be a petitioner for a beneficiary. For more help with matters relating to family petitions, contact an immigration attorney in your area. One professional that may be able to meet your needs is Tesoroni & Leroy.