Family immigration represents one of the most popular forms of immigration. When you want to bring one of your family members to the U.S., you can help him or her get one of two types of visas: an Immediate Relative Immigrant Visa or a Family Preference Immigrant Visa.
The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs explains that each type of visa has various categories of your family members to which they apply.
Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas
As their name implies, Immediate Relative (IR) Immigrant Visas apply to members of your immediate family as follows:
- An IR-1 visa applies to your husband or wife.
- An IR-2 visa applies to your minor (under age 21) unmarried child(ren).
- An IR-3 visa applies to any orphan(s) you adopt overseas.
- An IR-4 visa applies to any orphan(s) you adopt after (s)he or they arrive in this country.
- An IR-5 visa applies to your mother or father.
The biggest advantage of IR visas is that you can obtain as many of them as you need or want. The U.S. government places no maximum number restrictions on them.
Family Preference Immigrant Visas
Family Preference (FP) Immigrant Visas apply to a wider number of your relatives than IR visas do. Categories apply as follows:
- An F1 visa (Family First Preference) applies to any of your unmarried children, plus all of their minor children.
- An F2 visa (Family Second Preference) applies to your spouse plus all of your minor children and your unmarried adult (over 21 years of age) children.
- An F3 visa (Family Third Preference) applies to your married children plus their spouses and minor children.
- An F4 visa (Family Fourth Preference) applies to your brothers and sisters plus their spouses and minor children.
The major downside to Family Preference Immigrant Visas is that you must be a U.S. citizen to obtain F1, F3 and F4 visas for your eligible family members. You must be a Lawful Permanent Resident to obtain F2 visas for your family members to whom this category pertains. In addition, the U.S. government limits the number of FP visas it issues each year.