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How many types of family visas exist?

 Posted on August 01, 2019 in family-based immigration

As an immigrant living in Texas after attaining your U.S. citizenship, you probably have family members still living in your native country. If you wish to help them gain entry into the U.S., you will be pleased to know that you and they have many visa options from which to choose.

The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs explains that family immigration visas fall within two categories, Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas and Family Preference Immigrant Visas.

Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas

These types of visas apply to your immediate family members such as the following:

  • The IR-1 visa applies to your spouse
  • The IR-2 visas apply to your unmarried child(ren) who are under 21 years of age
  • The IR-3 visas apply to any orphan(s) you adopted abroad
  • The IR-4 visas apply to any orphan(s) you plan to adopt once (s)he or they come(s) to the United States
  • The IR-5 visas apply to your parent(s)

You can bring an unlimited number of your above-listed family members into the U.S. each fiscal year by means of one or more of these types of visas.

Family Preference Immigrant Visas

These types of visas apply to your other family members such as the following:

  • The F1 visas (Family First Preference) apply to your unmarried children and their unmarried children
  • The F3 visas (Family Third Preference) apply to your married children and their children
  • The F4 visas (Family Fourth Preference) apply to your siblings and their spouses and minor children

One additional type of visa falls within this category. The F2 visas (Family Second Preference) apply to your spouse and your children, both minor and unmarried. The advantage to an F2 visa is that you need not be a U.S. citizen to sponsor someone for one, only a Lawful Permanent Resident

Unlike Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas for which no annual limitations exist as to the number of family members you can sponsor each year, the U.S. rather severely limits the number of Family Preference Immigrant Visas it issues each fiscal year. Consequently, your family members who fall within this category may face a multi-year wait before obtaining their visas. The other restriction for this category of visas is that you cannot sponsor your grandchild(ren), niece(s), nephew(s), cousin(s) or one of your in-laws.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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