Family Preference Categories

A US citizen can also petition for a visa for non-immediate relatives. Non-immediate relatives will fall into five categories:

Family First Preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens that are over 21 years of age, and their children, if any.

Family Second Preference (F2): Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (over 21) of lawful permanent residents.

Family Third Preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and children.

Family Fourth Preference (F4): Brothers and sisters of United States citizens, and their spouses and children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age.

The filing date of a petition becomes the applicant’s priority date. A visa number becomes available for a preference petition when its priority date becomes current. Immigrant visas cannot be issued until an applicant’s priority date is reached. In certain heavily oversubscribed categories, there may be a waiting period of several years before a priority date is reached. Check the Visa Bulletin for the latest priority dates.

Note: Grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws and cousins cannot sponsor a relative for immigration.


  • Sponsoring U.S. citizen or U.S. legal permanent resident must file an I-130 Petition
  • Documents establishing family relationship must also be submitted with the I-130 Petition.

All Family Preference petitions except the Family Second Preference (F2) petition can only be filed by U.S. citizens. The F2 petition can be filed by legal permanent residents. 

Our Role in Your Success

At Zaidi Law Firm PC, we take our time to understand each individual’s case, because we know that each of our clients has a unique set of circumstances. First and foremost, we provide you with an honest evaluation of your eligibility. Based on your situation, we will discuss which supporting documentation we will need from you for the preparation of an excellent petition. We have encountered many cases where we needed to solve complex problems in relation to gathering documentation or proving relationships. If you face difficulty at any point in this process, we will be there to advise you until the day you receive your approval notice.