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USA Family Immigration


About Visa:

Family based immigration: Two groups of family based immigrant visa categories, including immediate relatives and family preference categories, are provided under the provisions of United States immigration law, specifically the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

  1. Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas (Unlimited): These visa types are based on a close family relationship with a United States (U.S.) citizen described as an Immediate Relative (IR). The number of immigrants in these categories is not limited each fiscal year. Immediate relative visa types include:

    • IR-1: Spouse of a U.S. Citizen - LearnMore
    • IR-2: Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen
    • IR-3: Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen - Learn More
    • IR-3: Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen - Learn More
    • IR-5: Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old
  2. Family Preference Immigrant Visas (Limited): These visa types are for specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some specified relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). There are fiscal year numerical limitations on family preference immigrants, shown at the end of each category. The family preference categories are:
    • Family First Preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children, if any. (23,400)
    • Family Second Preference (F2): Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of LPRs. At least seventy-seven percent of all visas available for this category will go to the spouses and children; the remainder is allocated to unmarried sons and daughters. (114,200)
    • Family Third Preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children. (23,400)
    • 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. (65,000)

Note: Grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and cousins cannot sponsor a relative for immigration.

For an overview of the types of immigrant visas available under immigration law, please see Visa Types for Immigrants. Your relative sponsor and you, the intending immigrant, must successfully complete certain steps in the immigration process in order to come to the United States. Here are the key steps:

First, the USCIS must approve an immigrant visa petition, I-130 Petition for Alien Relative filed by your sponsoring relative for you. Next, most sponsors will need to demonstrate adequate income or assets to support the intending immigrant, and accept legal responsibility for financially supporting their family member, by completing and signing a document called an Affidavit of Support. Once this is complete, then the intending immigrant will apply for the immigrant visa.

Overview: Immigrant Visa Process Flow Diagram

Family Based Immigrants

Spouse/Fiance(e) of U.S. Citizen

Requirements:

Documentation

In general, the following documents are required:

  • Passport(s) valid for six months beyond the intended date of entry into the United States, unless longer validity is specifically requested by the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your country. Please review the instructions for guidance.,
  • Affidavit of Support (Form I-864, I-864A, I-864 EZ, or I-864W, as appropriate) from the petitioner/U.S. sponsor. In addition to this guidance, tips are available for completing the affidavit of support (tips for I-864, tips for I-864A, tips for I-864EZ, and tips for I-864W).
  • Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application.
  • Preview a sample DS-260 (6.4MB).
  • Two (2) 2x2 photographs. See the required photo format explained in Photograph Requirements.
  • Civil Documents for the applicant (and petitioner in F4 cases). See Documents the Applicant Must Submit for more specific information about documentation requirements, including information on which documents may need to be translated. The consular officer may ask for more information during your visa interview. Bring your original civil documents (or certified copies), such as birth and marriage certificates, as well as legible photocopies of the original civil documents, and any required translations to your immigrant visa interview. Original documents and translations can then be returned to you.
  • Completed Medical Examination Forms - These are provided by the panel physician after you have completed your medical examination and vaccinations (see below).


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