Immigrant Visa


Family-Based Immigrant Visa Categories

Family relationships may serve as a basis to apply for Permanent Residence.

Immediate Relatives
: These are spouses of U.S. citizens, minor children (under 21) of U.S. Citizens and parents of U.S. Citizens (unless applying for a spouse, the citizen petitioner must be at least 21 years old). There is no “waiting period” for these individuals; only the processing time involved in the application process.

Preference Categories:

1st Preference:
Unmarried sons or daughters (over 21 years old) of U.S. Citizens.

2nd Preference: (2a) Spouses and children of U.S. Permanent Residents or (2b) Unmarried sons or daughters of U.S. Permanent Residents.

3rd Preference: Married sons or daughters of U.S. Citizens.

4th Preference: Siblings of U.S. Citizens (citizen must be at least 21 years old).

The family relationship must be documented through birth certificates or through affidavits if birth certificates are not available.

Other substantive evidence, depending on the category, will be required to verify the nature of the relationship. Evidence of the ability to financially support the beneficiary will be of critical importance.

Family-based preference categories are subject to visa availability according to the petition’s priority date. The U.S. Department of State publishes its monthly Visa Bulletin which lists the current priority dates for available immigrant visas.

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