Atlanta’s Best Immigration Attorneys

Atlanta’s Best Immigration Attorneys

Family Preference Visas and the importance of the priority date

On Behalf of | May 10, 2021 | Green Cards, Immigration Law

If you are a United States resident, you may wish to bring a relative from outside the country here to live.

Depending on the relationship, your loved one may need a family immigration visa. However, there are limits to the number of immigrants that can be admitted to the United States each year, and admittance could involve a priority date.

Family Preference Visas

Family Preference Immigrant Visas are for more distant family members than, for example, the spouse of a U.S. citizen. Unlike unlimited Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas, Family Preference Immigrant Visas for relatives of U.S. citizens have fiscal year limitations:

                – F1 visa: unmarried sons and daughters and minor children of U.S. citizens: 23,400

                – F2 visa: spouses, minor children and unmarried sons and daughters of Lawful Permanent Residents: 114,200

                – F3 visa: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, their spouses and children: 23,400

                – F4 visa: Siblings of U.S. citizens aged 21 and older plus spouses and minor children: 65,000

Priority dates

Once the annual number of visas in each category reaches the maximum available, there will be an admittance delay. The U.S. government will then issue Family Preference Immigrant Visas in chronological order according to the priority date. This is the date on which a visa petition was filed. The waiting period may be several years.

Visa process

The United States encourages the growth of families, and visas facilitate bringing family members together. Applications and regulations may seem complicated and confusing. However, with legal guidance, citizens and legal residents can start the visa process to bring family members to live and work in the U.S.