U.S. Law Center

Who qualifies for a family preference immigrant visa?

As a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who is living in Orange or Riverside County in California, you may want to assist one or more of your family members in joining you in the United States. You may be able to file a petition for a family preference immigrant visa on behalf of your family member. There are a limited number of these each year, and according to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, the relationship between you and your family member may affect whether this family visa will be granted.

You do not qualify to sponsor a grandchild, niece or nephew, cousin or in-law, regardless of your personal status. However, if you are a lawful permanent resident, you can file a petition for your spouse and minor children through the category F2, which is a Family Second Preference immigrant visa. If you have unmarried adult children who are at least 21 years of age, you may be able to sponsor them, as well. F2 visas make up the bulk of the family preference visas offered each year.

As a U.S. citizen, you may be able to sponsor others who are not as closely related through the F1, F3 and F4 family preference categories. These include unmarried or married sons and daughters, their spouses and their minor children. You must be 21 years old or older to sponsor your siblings and their immediate families. Other visa options may be available for family members, as well. This information about the F immigrant visa categories is for your education, but should not be taken as legal advice.

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