A Personal Immigration Experience.
A Personalized Approach To Immigration Law.

Family Preference or Immediate Family: Which visa type is better?

On Behalf of | Feb 25, 2022 | Family-Based Immigration |

As a legal U.S. immigrant, you undoubtedly want to bring other members of your family to this country as well. How do you achieve this goal?

Per information from the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, you have two options for obtaining the visas your family members will need.

Family Preference visas

As their name implies, FP visas give preference to certain of your family members. However, these types of visas carry inherent restrictions. In addition, the U.S. government only issues a limited number of them each year.

The four types of FP visas consist of the following:

  1. F1 visas – applicable for your single adult children and their minor children
  2. F2 visas – applicable for your spouse, minor children and single adult children
  3. F3 visas – applicable for your married children, their spouses and minor children
  4. F4 visas – applicable for your siblings, their spouses and minor children

Keep in mind that you must be a U.S. citizen in order to apply for F1, F3 and F4 visas for your family members in these categories. To apply for F2 visas, you need to be a permanent U.S. resident.

Immediate Relative visas

While IR visas apply only to your immediate, i.e., nuclear, family members, you can obtain them more easily than FP visas. For one thing, the U.S. government puts no limitation on the number of IR visas it issues each year.

The five types of IR visas consist of the following:

  1. IR-1 visas – applicable for your spouse
  2. IR-2 visas – applicable for your minor unmarried children
  3. IR-3 visas – applicable for non-U.S. orphans you adopt in their birth country
  4. IR-4 visas – applicable for non-U.S. orphans you adopt in this country once they arrive here
  5. IR-5 visas – applicable for your parents

You need to be only a permanent U.S. resident, not a U.S. citizen, to apply for IR visas.