U.S. Law Center

Annual limits only apply to certain types of family visas

If you are a natural-born citizen, a naturalized citizen or legal resident of the United States, you may apply to bring family members into the U.S.

Visas fall into various categories, and two groups of categories relate to families. Some visa types have annual limits, and others have no limit.

Immediate Relative, or IR, Immigrant Visas

If you are a legal permanent resident of the United States, you are eligible to apply for visas for your spouse or unmarried children to enter the country. However, if you are a citizen of the U.S. and at least 21 years old you have more options:

  •         Your spouse
  •         Unmarried children under the age of 21
  •         An orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen
  •         An orphan set for adoption in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen
  •         Your parents

The IR visas are for those with close family relationships to a U.S. citizen, and there is no limit to the number of immigrants who can come into the country each year.

Family Preference Immigrant Visas

The number of family preference visas has an annual limit. This group of "F" visas is for specific and more distant family relationships either with a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). The family connections include unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their minor children; spouses, minor children or unmarried sons and daughters of LPRs; married children of U.S. Citizens plus their spouses, children and siblings of U.S. citizens, as well as their spouses and children.

K Visas

If you are a U.S. citizen or LPR, a K visa allows for the permanent immigration of your spouse. If engaged, the K visa also provides for your intended to enter the U.S. in the months prior to the marriage ceremony.

Next steps

The United States encourages family growth, and immigrant family members are welcome. Explore your legal options and learn more about the visa process that applies in your particular situation.

 

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