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Immediate Relative vs. Family Preference : Which type visa is easier to get?

 Posted on April 01, 2022 in family-based immigration

Once you successfully emigrate from your country of origin to the United States, it is only natural for you to want to bring others of your family to join you here.

The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, advises that you have two visa options: Family Preference and Immediate Relative. The question then becomes: Which type of visa can you more easily obtain? The answer depends on who you need to obtain the visa for.

Immediate Relative visas

Assuming you are a permanent U.S. resident, Immediate Relative visas are easier to obtain than Family Preference visas. The U.S. government issues an unlimited number of IR visas each year. The downside, however, is that you can only obtain this class of visas for your immediate family members. The following lists the five types of Immediate Relative visas and your family members to whom each applies:

  1. IR-1: Applies to your spouse only
  2. IR-2: Apply to your minor unmarried children
  3. IR-3: Apply to any non-U.S. orphans you adopt in their country of birth
  4. IR-4: Apply to any non-U.S. orphans you adopt in this country after they come here
  5. IR-5: Apply to your parents

Family Preference visas

The U.S. government issues a limited number of these visas each year. The following lists the four types of Family Preference visas and your family members to whom each applies:

  1. F1: Apply to your single adult children and their minor children
  2. F2: Apply to your spouse, minor children and single adult children
  3. F3: Apply to your married children, their spouses and minor children
  4. F4: Apply to your siblings, their spouses and minor children

Numerous restrictions apply to Family Preference visas. For instance, you must be a permanent U.S. resident to apply for an F1 visa and you must be a U.S. citizen to apply for the other three types.

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