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What are preference categories?

| Feb 12, 2021 | family-based immigration

When it comes to immigration, many people choose one of two popular paths. They either go with employment-based immigration options, or family-based immigration options. If you choose to go through family-based options, you need to understand immigration eligibility and preferences.

The preference system is particularly important to understand. How does it work? What are the categories? And how will it affect your ability to bring over your loved ones?

Immediate relatives

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services discusses preference categories for green cards. First of all, what is this system? When you want to immigrate a relative, they must get an immigrant visa number. This number comes from the preference category that they fall under.

The preference system covers first preference to fourth preference. However, immediate relatives do not need to wait for a number. They get one immediately once the USCIS approves their petition for a visa. Immediate relatives include children under 21, parents and spouses.

First through fourth preference relatives

From there, you have first preference. This includes any unmarried adult sons or daughters of citizens. In this case, adult includes anyone over the age of 21. Second preference includes spouses of lawful permanent residents (LPR). It also includes their unmarried children under 21, and any unmarried sons or daughters of LPRs.

Third preference includes any married sons or daughters of U.S. citizens. Finally, fourth preference includes any sisters or brothers of adult U.S. citizens. If you have a relative who falls into any of these categories, consider contacting a legal expert. They can help you get the fastest and smoothest track for immigration available.