Family-Based Immigration Visas


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Family-Based Immigration Visas

For foreign persons who have a relative in the U.S. who is a citizen or Permanent Resident.

Visas for family members fall into the categories of ‘Immediate Relative’ and ‘Family Preference’. These are further broken down into the following:


These visa types are based on a close family relationship with a United States citizen.

IR-1 — Spouse of a U.S. Citizen.
IR-2 — Unmarried Child Under twenty-one 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 twenty-one years old.


These visa types are for specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some specified relationships with an LPR (Lawful Permanent Residence).

Family First Preference (F1) — Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children, if any.

Family Second Preference (F2) — Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of LPRs.

Family Third Preference (F3) — Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children.

Family Fourth Preference (F4) — Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age.

There are unlimited number of visas given to Immediate Relatives, compared to the Family Preference where there are a set number of visas available each year.


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David A. Bredin


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