Preference Category Relatives

Preference Category Relatives: 

Family Preference Immigrant Visas have a yearly limit on the number issued for each category; depending on the category in which a family member is classified, the processing times may vary greatly.

Preference Categories

Beneficiaries covered

Number of immigrant visas available for each category per year

First (F1):

Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (over 21)






Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old of lawful permanent residents.



*At least seventy-seven percent of all visas available for this category will go to (F-2A) spouses and children of LPR’s;




Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older).

Third (F3):


Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children. (23,400)





Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age.



Derivative Beneficiary:

The principal beneficiary (relative who the immigrant visa is being applied for) can apply for derivatives beneficiaries (spouse/children). However, only family members in the preference categories can apply for beneficiaries. Immediate Relatives cannot apply for derivative beneficiaries.

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