The Law Office of Robert J. Maher, P.C.

Family Immigration

Green card Through Family

The U.S. State Department provides TWO groups of family based immigrant visas -- Immediate Relatives(Unlimited) and Family Preference Categories(Limited). 

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Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas (Unlimited): These visa types are based on a close family relationship with a United States (U.S.) citizen ONLY described as an Immediate Relative (IR)*. The number of immigrants in these categories is not limited each fiscal year. Immediate relative visa types include:

  • IR-1: Spouse of a U.S. Citizen
  • IR-2: Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen
  • IR-3: Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen
  • IR-4: Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen
  • IR-5: Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old

Family Preference Immigrant Visas (Limited): These visa types are for specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some specified relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). There are fiscal year numerical limitations on family preference immigrants, shown at the end of each category. The family preference categories are:

  • Family First Preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children, if any. 
  • Family Second Preference (F2): Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of LPRs. 
  • Family Third Preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children. 
  • Family Fourth Preference (F4): 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. 

*Note: only Direct Relatives can be petitioner for the applicant(s). Grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and cousins cannot sponsor a relative for immigration.