It can be very challenging to come to the United States. You might not have had the luxury of bringing over anyone with you when you immigrated, and now you’d love nothing more than to have your family join you.
There are options for bringing over certain family members. You must generally be either a green card holder or a U.S. citizen to do so. The family member’s relationship to you also impacts their ability to apply for a visa under the “preference immigrant” program as described below.
Which family members are eligible to apply for this visa?
An applicant’s eligibility for the preference immigrant visa has four primary tiers depending on their relationship to a family member already here:
- F1 status: This is the first priority or highest tier on the priority status for this visa class. Any U.S. citizen’s adult children (age 21 or over) who aren’t yet married qualify for this status.
- F2 status: This tier is broken down into two priority levels — F2A and F2B. The highest priority of the two levels is F2A. The spouses of U.S. permanent residents and any children who are unmarried and under the age of 21 would be eligible for this visa class. The F2A visa is reserved for a permanent resident’s unmarried children who are 21 or over.
- F3 status: This visa category is reserved for married children belonging to a U.S. citizen regardless of age.
- F4 status: This allows a U.S. citizen’s adult siblings to petition to come to the U.S.
In each of the above-referenced cases, only a certain number of visas are awarded by category each year. That number is smaller the further down in the priority categories one goes.
Is the preference immigrant visa the best choice to get your family here?
Generally, there isn’t a single visa for a particular need, but a few different options to choose from. Each carries its own pros and cons. You’ll want to take time to learn more about the different family-based immigration options before deciding whether one is best for your situation.