Immigrating through the Family Preference System
US citizens can petition for their immediate relatives whose immigrant visas can be issued as soon as their petitions are approved because there are no limits to the number of immigrant visas that can be issued to them. Under the category of “immediate relatives” belong the spouses, unmarried children under 21 years of age and parents of US citizens. All other relatives of US citizens can only immigrate through the family preference categories. The relatives of Lawful Permanent Residents can also immigrate only through the family preference system.
What are family preferences?
Family preferences are an order of priority in the issuance of immigrant visas for relatives other than immediate relatives of US citizens.
Who are in the Family First Preference?
In the First Preference category are the unmarried sons and daughters of US citizens who are 21 years of age or older.
Who are in the Family Second Preference?
The spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21 and the parents of lawful permanent residents belong to the second preference category 2A; while the unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents who are over the age of 21 belong to the second preference category 2B.
Who are in the Family Third Preference?
The married adult sons and daughters of US citizens may immigrate under the Third Preference category.
Who are in the Family Fourth Preference?
The brothers and sisters of US citizens belong to the Fourth Preference category. The siblings may be natural or biological siblings, adopted siblings, half-siblings or step-siblings.
Can US citizens petition for other relatives?
US citizens and US Lawful Permanent Residents cannot file a petition for relatives other than those who have been assigned to the four preference categories. This means that they cannot petition for their grandparents or grandchildren, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews or nieces.
What happens when Lawful Permanent Residents who filed a petition for their relatives obtain US citizenship?
If Lawful Permanent Residents have filed a petition for their relatives and before the petition is approved, the Lawful Permanent Residents obtain US citizenship, their relatives will benefit because this will change their preference category.
The spouse, unmarried children under the age of 21 and parents of Lawful Permanent Residents will be re-classified as “immediate relatives”. The unmarried sons and daughters over the age of 21 of Lawful Permanent Residents will move up to the First Preference category.
Do you need help in filing a petition for your family members? Do you need help in applying for the change of preference category of your relatives? Speak to any of the immigration lawyers at Lluis Law. We can help you.