U.S. Immigration differentiates Immediate Relatives and Other relatives: Immediate Relatives are spouses and children under 21 of a U.S. Citizen as well as parents of U.S. citizens.
For the foreign nationals who fall into this category, immigrant visas are not limited in numbers and are immediately available. Therefore, if the foreign national is present in the U.S., he or she may be eligible to file for adjustment of status concurrently with the relative petition. See immigration through marriage.
For the other relatives of U.S. Citizens and relatives of LPR, the Department of State relies on a Preference Category System that determines whether a visa is available for the considered relative. This Preference Category System functions by priority date, i.e. the date that the Petition is filed on behalf of the family member. The Department of State visa bulletin, published on a monthly basis, allocates immigrant visas by priority date and according to each preference category.
- F1- First preference category: sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
- F2A- Second preference category subclass A: children and spouses of Legal Permanent Residents
- F2B- Second preference category subclass B: sons and daughters of Legal Permanent Residents
- F3- Third preference category: married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
- F4- Fourth preference category: brothers and sisters of United States citizens
The waiting times for those visas changes each month. Please refer to an Immigration Attorney to get more information about the waiting time of your category.