The United States encourages the growth of family units and rules for visas are laid out under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
If you are a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident, two kinds of visas can help you bring loved ones into the country.
Immediate Relative Visas
If you are a citizen of the United States, you can apply for visas for close family relatives.
– IR-1: Your spouse
– IR-2: Your unmarried child under the age of 21
– IR-3: Orphan you adopted abroad
– IR-4: Orphan you are going to adopt here in the U.S.
– IR-5: Parent of a U.S. citizen aged 21 or older
Family Preference Visas
These visas are for more distant relationships.
F1: Unmarried children of U.S. citizens and their minor children
F2: Spouses, minor children and unmarried sons and daughters of Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR)
F3: Married children of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children
F4: Siblings of U.S. citizens who are 21 or older and their spouses and minor children
Keep in mind that the U.S. government does not allow grandparents, in-laws, aunts, uncles or cousins to sponsor relatives for immigration purposes.
Possible wait time
Immediate Relative Visas are unlimited. However, there is an annual limit to Family Preference Visas. When the annual limit is reached, applicants will go onto a waitlist. The U.S. government will then issue available visas in chronological order according to the date when petitions were filed. The wait may extend to several years. With legal guidance, you can better understand the complexities of immigration and how you might improve your chances of reuniting with your family members here in the U.S.