There is often confusion in Aurora about which types of family connections enable someone to petition for a family visa. The standards differ depending on whether the person petitioning is a United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident (LPR).
United States immigration law establishes several categories of family visas ranked according to preference. A seasoned visa lawyer could assist in determining which Aurora family visa categories are most advantageous in your situation.
Understanding Family Visas
The U.S. grants a limited number of permanent immigrant visas each year. These visas enable the holders to become an LPR with green cards so that they can live and work legally in the U.S.
Most people need a connection to the U.S. to apply for an immigrant visa, and a family relationship could provide that connection if the right conditions apply. The Immigration and Nationality Act authorizes the government to issue two types of immigrant visas based on family connection. Immediate Relative (IR) visas are not subject to annual numerical quotas, while Family Preference (F) visas are issued in limited number according to the category. For more information about Aurora family visa categories, reach out to a dedicated immigration lawyer.
Immediate Relative Visas
To qualify for an immediate relative visa, the person seeking an immigrant visa must be a close relative of a U.S. citizen. Inherently, entry under this category is limited to spouses, parents, and unmarried children of citizens. The five official immediate relative categories are:
- IR-1 – Husbands and wives of citizens
- IR-2 – Children who are unmarried and under 21
- IR-3 – Children adopted abroad by citizens
- IR-4 – Children who are going to be adopted in the U.S. by citizens
- IR-5 – Parents of U.S. citizens, who must be at least 21 years old
Immediate relative visas are the most desirable because the government may issue an unlimited number of them each year. If an applicant applies under another category and later becomes eligible for an immediate relative visa, he or she should notify the appropriate authorities as soon as possible.
Family First Preference
The highest-ranking category of family preference visas is reserved for children of citizens who are over 21 years of age but unmarried. While the number of visas granted in this category is limited annually, the high ranking of this category means that those who qualify will often have a shorter wait to gain admission than someone in a lower ranked category.
Family first preference (F1) visas may also be granted to minor children of unmarried sons and daughters of citizens. Married children of citizens may also qualify to apply for a visa but under a lower preference category.
Family Second Preference
Family members of LPRs may obtain an immigrant visa through the family second preference (F2) category. This category is further split into F2A and F2B.
Spouses and minor children of LPRs qualify to apply for a visa as F2A. A large majority of available visas in this category are reserved for F2A applicants. The remainder may be granted to those in the F2B category, which is for adult unmarried children of LPRs.
Family Third and Fourth Preferences
The family third preference (F3) visa is designated for children of U.S. citizens who are married. Their spouses and minor children are also eligible to apply under this category.
The final category, family fourth preference (F4), enables brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens to apply for an immigrant visa. However, the citizen whom they are connected with must be at least 21 years old.
An Attorney Could Provide More Information About Family Visa Categories in Aurora
Immigration law is a complex topic and one subject to considerable political debate. Therefore, it is crucial to stay up-to-date on current regulations affecting family visa categories.
As part of the process of obtaining a family visa, potential immigrants and their family members work with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as well as the U.S. State Department. Further information about Aurora family visa categories may be available through these agencies or by consulting a knowledgeable immigration lawyer. Call today.