As an immigrant to the US, once you achieve permanent resident status, you likely begin thinking about bringing various of your relatives into this country, too.
The Bureau of Consular Affairs of the US Department of State explains that, depending on which relatives you have in mind, you have two choices of visas: an Immediate Relative (IR) visa or a Family Preference (FP) visa.
You can apply for any number of IR visas each year, but they only apply to your immediate family members. Specifically, the types of IR visas and the relatives to whom they apply consist of the following:
- IR-1 visa: your spouse
- IR-2 visa: your minor unmarried child or children
- IR-3 visa: an orphan you adopted abroad
- IR-4 visa: an orphan you adopt after he or she comes to the US
- IR-5 visa: your parents
The US issues only a limited number of Family Preference visas each year. The types of FP visas and the relatives to whom they apply consist of the following:
- F1 visa: your unmarried adult children and their respective minor children
- F2 visa: your spouse, minor children and unmarried adult children
- F3 visa: your married children and their respective spouses and minor children
- F4 visa: your brothers and sisters and their respective spouses and minor children
In addition to the limitation on the number of FP visas available to you each year, the US places more restrictions on obtaining them. For instance, obtaining an F2 visa requires you to be a Lawful Permanent Resident of the US. Obtaining an F1, F3 or F4 visa requires you to be a US citizen.