The Immigration and Nationality Act allows any U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (LPR) to sponsor a relative who wishes to immigrate to the United States. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens — parents, spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old — may file immediately for an immigrant visa. An LPR is not eligible to petition to bring parents to live permanently in the U.S.
For all other relatives, a preference system has been established to help distribute the limited number of family-based immigrant visas that become available each year. The system places individuals into preference categories based on the type of relationship the applicant has with the sponsor. In theory, the higher the preference rank an applicant is in, the quicker he or she will be able to receive a green card. It is essential to obtain an immigrant visa number in the proper preference category.
The preference categories for family immigration are:
First preference — Unmarried sons and daughters over 21.
Second preference — Spouses of LPRs and the unmarried sons and daughters (regardless of age) of LPRs and their children
Third preference — Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, their spouses and their minor children
Fourth preference — Siblings of adult U.S. citizens, their spouses and their minor children
The Immigration Lawyer You Select May Impact Your Results
The experienced immigration attorneys at Henry & Grogan work on immigration cases in Philadelphia and throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania every day. We understand the process and how to navigate through it. Our commitment to our clients is seen in our quick response to messages and the personal attention our attorneys provide each client.
If your situation does not fall into one of the four preference categories, we will explore other options for reuniting you with family members who still live abroad and wish to come to the United States.