Family Preference Green Cards

Family Preference Green Cards give permanent residency in the United States to non-immediate family members.

Immediate relativesof U.S. Citizens — i.e. spouses, parents, and unmarried children under 21 —  should apply for Green Cards for Immediate Relatives.


Key Considerations for Family Preference Green Cards

Family Preference Green Cards

These family preference visa types are for specific, more distant family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some specified relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR).

While these are relatively straightfoward green cards to obtain, please note that there can be significant waiting times involved. See below for details.

Note: Numbers are strictly controlled

  • Because a limited number of each visa type is made available each fiscal year, it may result in long waiting times (details below).

Details of Family Preference Types

  1. F1: The Family First Preference F1 is for unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (and their minor children, if any).
  2. F2: Spouses, minor children, and older unmarried sons and daughters:
    • F2A: For spouses and children (under 21 years of age) of permanent residents.
      • Note: F2A has had visa retrogression for a long time. The Department of State has released a memo to solve the age-out issue of children of residents. Thus, the fact that F2A is current is really good news.
    • F2B: Unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age or older) of permanent residents.
  3. F3: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children.
    • If an immediate relative child under age 21 gets married, he or she can no longer be classified as an “immediate relative” and will become a “third preference” (F3) category married son or daughter of a U.S. citizen and a visa would no longer be immediately available.
  4. F4: Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children.
    • Unlike other categories of Family Preference Immigrant Visas, Lawful Permanent Residents are not permitted to sponsor a family member for an F4 visa.

Family Preference Green Card Allocations

The Visa Bulletin, published on the fifteenth day of each calendar month, gives an indication of current waiting times for the various preference types.

Your application may become due for issuance only if its priority date is before the relevant date listed on the bulletin.

Four countries (China, India, Mexico and Philippines) have their own dates, so please refer to the bulletin for current information.

The table below may give an indication of current application dates (and timescales), but we recommend referring to the official visa bulletin.

Preference Other Countries China * India Mexico Philippines
F1 15 MAY 2008 15 MAY 2008 15 MAY 2008 22 DEC 1994 01 JUN 2003
F2A 01 AUG 2014 01 AUG 2014 01 AUG 2014 01 JUN 2014 01 AUG 2014
F2B 01 APR 2009 01 APR 2009 01 APR 2009 08 SEP 1995 01 JAN 2005
F3 01 AUG 2004 01 AUG 2004 01 AUG 2004 01 AUG 1994 01 NOV 1993
F4 22 APR 2003 22 APR 2003 22 APR 2003 01 APR 1997 22 JUL 1992

(* China mainland-born)

Numbers of Visas Allocated Annually Per Preference

There are fiscal year numerical limitations on family preference immigrants, shown at the end of each category. The family preference categories are:

  1. First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.
  2. Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents:  114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:
    1. F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents:  77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;
    2. F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents:  23% of the overall second preference limitation.
  3. Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.
  4. Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens:  65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

Trust Velie Law With Your Family Preference Green Card Application

If your Family Preference Green Card Application is important to you, here are four great reasons why you should speak to Velie Law Firm today.

94% Approval Rate *

  • The care we put into all our applications gives us the highest success rates in the industry.
  • Plus you get our “Success Guarantee” — if your first application is not successful, we’ll review and resubmit at no cost.
  • You’ll deal directly with our in-house attorneys (no affiliates).
  • Our services are flat-rate. You won’t pay one penny more!

* Our approval rate displayed is the average for calendar year 2014. Any result Velie Law Firm might have achieved on behalf of one client in one matter does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

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