Information of Close Family Members of Citizens or Permanent Resident

Categories of Other Close Family Members of the Citizen:

Other groups of family members of citizens or permanent resident aliens can qualify to immigrate to the United States, but are not considered as “preferred” as immediate relatives of citizens. As such, these aliens are subject to a numerically-limited number of immigrant visas available to them each year. Since only a limited number of visas are available, Congress has divided these groups into “preference” categories, ranking them in the order in which they are preferred for immigration. The higher the preference, the more quickly a visa will be allotted to the alien.

Permanent Resident

The following categories are those to which Congress has given this preference:

  1. Unmarried sons and daughters of citizens
  2. Spouses and unmarried sons and daughters of permanent resident aliens
  3. Married sons and daughters of citizens
  4. Brothers and sisters of citizens

1.    Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens (Family First Preference)

The first family-sponsored preference is set aside for unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, the same as the old first preference. This preference is assigned 23,400 annual visas, plus any visas not used by the fourth family-sponsored preference. This group does not qualify as immediate relatives because the sons and daughters are 21 years of age or older. The sons and daughters must have qualified as “children” of the citizens when they were under 21. The rules for determining whether a son or daughter was a “child,” a strictly defined term under the immigration law.

  • The spouse and minor children of first preference immigrants can immigrate with them. The spouse and children of the principal alien are entitled to derivative classification and they are charged against the visa allotment for the same preference as the principal alien. A separate petition is not required.
  • There is a waiting list for visas to immigrate in this category, regardless of the aliens country. First preference immigrants should expect to wait at least three years to complete the green card process. For certain nationalities, the wait is longer.

2.    Spouses and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents (Family Second Preference)

The second family-sponsored preference is set aside for two groups: preference 2A includes spouses and minor children-the immediate family members-of permanent residents, and preference 2B includes unmarried adult sons and daughters of residents. The entire preference category is allotted a minimum of 114,200 annual visas. Any visas unused by the first family-sponsored preference will go to the second family-sponsored preference. Seventy-seven percent of the annual visas goes to the 2A subpreference, and the other 2B goes to the 2B subpreference.

The sons and daughters of residents must either presently qualify as “children” as that term is strictly defined in the immigration law, or have qualified as children when they were under 21 years of age.

Note the following additional points:

  • The spouse and minor children of second preference immigrants can immigrate with them.
  • Spouses of permanent residents whose marriage was created within two years prior to the grant of permanent residence are given residence on a conditional basis.
  • There is a waiting list for visas to immigrate in this category, regardless of the alien’s country. Spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents (the family 2A second preference category) should expect to wait at least five years to complete the green card process.
  • Certain spouses and minor children of permanent residents with pending permanent residence papers may be eligible for non-immigrant benefits under legislation enacted in 2000.

3.    Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens (Family Third Preference)

The  third  family-sponsored  preference  is  set  aside  for  married  sons  and daughters  of U.S. citizens. The preference is allotted 23,400 annual immigrant visas. Any unused visas from the first and second family-sponsored preferences are also assigned to this category. This group does not qualify as immediate relatives because the sons and daughters are married (and some of them are also 21 years of age or older). As with those qualifying as unmarried sons and daughters of citizens in the first preference, those qualifying in this group must have qualified as “children” at one time as that term is strictly defined in the immigration law.

Note the following additional points:

  • The spouse and minor children of third preference immigrants can immigrate with them.
  • There is a waiting list for visas to immigrate in this category, regardless of the alien’s country. Third preference immigrants should expect to wait at least six years to complete the green card process.

4.    Brothers and Sisters of Citizens (Family Fourth Preference)

The fourth family-sponsored preference includes the brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, provided the citizen is at least 21 years old. It is allotted 65,000 annual visas, plus any visas not used in the first three family-sponsored preferences. Brothers and sisters of citizens can qualify for immigration if the citizen is 21 years of age or older.

Note the following additional points:

  • The spouse and minor children of fourth preference immigrants can immigrate with them.
  • There is a waiting list for visas to immigrate in this category, regardless of the alien’s country. Fourth preference immigrants should expect to wait at least 12 years to complete the green card process.

At Wani & Associates, we have professional and experienced criminal attorneys, immigration attorneys, family law attorneys, bankruptcy attorneys and automobile accident attorneys. We can fight for your rights in the courts of the Virginia, Maryland, DC, Pakistan, and India.

http://www.wanilaw.com

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