Family-based visas (FB) are an immigrant visa category where a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) petitions for a relative for immigration to the United States. The visa process varies depending on the relationship of the family member and whether the petitioning relative is a United States citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident.
Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas (IR) are available for individuals who are immediate family members of the U.S. citizen. These visas are not subject to yearly limits like other family preference visas.
- 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
- IR-5: Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old
Family Preference Immigrant Visas (F) are for family relationships, other than spouse, children, or parents. These visas are limited and have a numerical limit for each fiscal year. After the visa petition is approved, the foreign relative must wait until a visa number is available for that category of relative, depending on their country of birth.
- F1: Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (and their minor children) - 23,400
- F3: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children - 23,400
- F4: Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children (for U.S. citizens 21 years of age or older) - 65,000
Lawful Permanent Residents
Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) may petition for close family relatives for F2 visas. Family preference visas for LPRs are limited to 114,200 each fiscal year. At least 75% of F2 visas are available for spouses and minor children, with the remainder going to unmarried sons and daughters.
- F2A: Spouses and minor children of LPRs
- F2B: Unmarried sons and daughters of LPRs
If the LPR becomes a U.S. citizen after filing a petition, the family visa type will also change. When the sponsor becomes a U.S. citizen, they should submit proof of citizenship to the National Visa Center (NVC) to update the family visa category.
Limited Family Preference Visas
Family-based preference visas (F1, F2, F3, and F4) are limited by number for each fiscal year. Available immigrant visas are issued based on the date the petition was filed, known as the priority date. The USCIS Visa Bulletin shows the latest priority dates for processing family preference visas. The priority date also varies based on where the individual seeking the visa, with separate categories for China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines.
If you have any questions about family-based immigrant visas for relatives of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents, contact the Law Office of Nita Kundanmal today. We handle all aspects of family-based and employment-based immigration law in New Jersey, New York and throughout the United States.