Overview – Family-based Immigrant Visas
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides two (2) groups of family based immigrant visa categories, including immediate relatives and family preference categories.
Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas: These visa types are based on a close family relationship with a United States (U.S.) citizen also known as an Immediate Relative (IR). Immediate relative visa types include:
- IR-1: Spouse of a U.S. Citizen;
- IR-2: Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen;
- IR-3: Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen;
- IR-4: Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen; and
- IR-5: Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old.
Family Preference Immigrant Visas: These visa types are for specific family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some certain relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). There are numerical limitations on family preference immigrants, which can be seen at www.travel.state.gov/immigrants/types. The family preference categories are:
- Family First Preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children, if any.
- Family Second Preference (F2): Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of LPRs. At least seventy-seven percent of all visas available for this category will go to the spouses and children; the remainder is allocated to unmarried sons and daughters.
- Family Third Preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children.
- Family Fourth Preference (F4): Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age.
It is important to note that Grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and cousins cannot sponsor a relative for immigration.
The information contained on this page is for educational and informative purpose only. This response does not constitute legal advice. The readers of this information should not act based solely on information contained herein.
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