The U.S. Department of State offers several types of immigration visas for family members of U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs). You may be familiar with Immediate Relative (IR) Immigrant Visas, which are available for citizens’ spouses, children, and parents, but you might not have heard of Family Preference Immigrant Visas. These visas are for more distant family members of citizens and LPRs.
Unlike IR Visas, Family Preference Immigrant Visas are only available in limited numbers each fiscal year. If there are more qualified applicants than visas available, the visas are issued in chronological order by priority date, which is based on the date the petition was filed.
Who is eligible for a Family Preference Immigrant Visa?
These visas fall into four categories. Here’s the breakdown:
Family First Preference (F1): There are 23,400 visas available per fiscal year for citizens’ unmarried sons and daughters and their minor children.
Family Second Preference (F2): There are 114,200 visas available per fiscal year for LPRs’ spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (over 21). A minimum of 70% of the F2 visas must go to spouses and children. The remaining visas go to unmarried sons and daughters.
Family Third Preference (F3): There are 23,400 visas available per fiscal year for the married sons and daughters of citizens, and their spouses and minor children.
Family Fourth Preference (F4): There are 65,000 visas available per fiscal year for the siblings of citizens (The citizens, in this category, must be 21+), and their spouses and minor children.
Some conditions and activities can disqualify you or your loved one from receiving a Family Preference Immigrant Visa. These include overstaying a previous visa, drug trafficking, and submitting fraudulent documents. However, in some cases, waivers of ineligibility may be available.
What do Family Preference Immigrant Visas provide?
With an F1, F2, F3, or F4 visa, you may travel to a U.S. port of entry and request permission to enter the United States. Once immigration officials review your visa and the related documents, you will enter the United States as a Legal Permanent Resident. Your green card will be mailed to you and you can be issued a social security card. You can legally settle in the United States.
If you are ready to apply for a Family Preference Immigrant Visa for your loved one, make sure to consult with an immigration attorney. At Villegas Law Office, we are experienced in helping families avoid the mistakes that can slow down the process or even get your application denied. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.