These visa types are for specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some specified relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident. There are fiscal year numerical limitations on family preference immigrants, shown at the end of each category. As such, the wait to apply for a green card may be several years. The family preference categories are:
- Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children, if any.
- Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of LPRs. At least seventy-seven percent of all visas available for this category will go to the spouses and children; the remainder is allocated to unmarried sons and daughters.
- Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children.
- 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.
The first step in sponsoring a relative is filing a Petition with the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). U.S. citizens must be age 21 or older to file petitions for siblings or parents. This is a long process involving many forms and documents. Avoid the pitfalls of immigration law by hiring a qualified immigration lawyer who belongs to a professional organization of immigration lawyers and who keeps up-to-date with the ever-changing trends in this complex area.