To promote family unity, immigration law allows U.S. citizens to petition for certain qualified relatives to come and live permanently in the United States. Eligible immediate relatives include the U.S. citizen’s:
Immediate relatives have special immigration priority and do not have to wait in line for a visa number to become available for them to immigrate because there are an unlimited number of visas for their particular categories.
U.S. citizen can apply permanent residence petition for spouse, child, parents, and siblings. Also, U.S. permanent resident can apply permanent residence petition for spouse and child, minor or unmarried adult. Unlike U.S. citizen's immediate relatives, there are four preferences on family-sponsored immigration which relatives will need to wait for a visa number to become available.
First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.
Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:
A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;
B. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents: 23% of the overall second preference limitation.
Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.
Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.
Congress has limited the number of relatives who may immigrate under these categories each year so there is usually a waiting period before an immigrant visa number becomes available.
The "priority date" is used to determine an individual’s place in line in the visa queue. When the priority date becomes current, the individual will be eligible to apply for an immigrant visa.The priority date for an immigrant petition is either:
The U.S. Department of State publishes a monthly report of visa availability referred to as the “Visa Bulletin.” The monthly Visa Bulletin serves as a guide for issuing visas at U.S. consulates and embassies. USCIS also uses this guide to determine whether a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, may be accepted or adjudicated, because a visa must be available both at the time a person files Form I-485 and at the time of the final decision on the application.
Green card of US citizen's spouse approved in 82 days
Green card of US citizen's spouse approved in 88 days