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Apart from the immediate relatives of the U.S. Citizens, there are other family members who qualify for permanent residency. However, they are subject to an annual numerical limit of immigrant visas. They are divided among different groups called “preferences”. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) the preference classes for allotment of such immigrant visas are provided as follows:

  • First Category

    (F1 Visa) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens

  • Second Category

    (F2A Visa) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents
    (F2B Visa) Unmarried Children who are 21 years of age or older of Permanent Residents.

  • Third Category

    (F3 Visa) Married Children of U.S. Citizens

  • Fourth Category

    (F4 Visa) Siblings of U.S. Citizens

The U.S. Citizen or permanent resident must submit Form I-130 with the USCIS to establish the relationship with the alien beneficiary. Since there is limited number of visas under this category, a priority date is fixed at the time of Form I-130 approval. The Department of State issues a Visa Bulletin every month so as inform the public of priority dates. As and when the priority date becomes current the beneficiary of the petition may either adjust status if already in the U.S. or appear for Consular Processing at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in the country of their residence and where the file has been sent by the USCIS.

A U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident can sponsor a family based immigration petition provided they meet some requirements and legal obligations. A Sponsor must be of 21 years and above to petition for immigrant visa. He has to execute a legally binding affidavit of support for the Beneficiary, in which the Sponsor guarantees to maintain the standard of living of the intending immigrant at a level not lower than 125% of the national poverty level. This obligation continues until the Beneficiary has become a U.S. citizen or has worked in the United States for 40 qualifying quarters.

A “sibling” includes a brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or adopted brother or sister. For the necessary sibling relationship to exist, each person must have been a child of at least one of the same parents. The siblings need not share the same biological parents as long as both became “children” at the appropriate time, like, before the age of 16 in cases of adoption, and before the age of 18 for stepchildren.

An adopted child qualifies as long as the adoption was finalized before the child’s 16th birthday. A stepchild qualifies as long as the marriage had occurred before the stepchild’s 18th birthday.

We, at the Law Offices of Aditya Surti, LLC can help you in applying for change of status/extension/adjustment of status to a different visa. To schedule your appointment contact us at 201-518-6642201-518-6642 (Jersey City Office), 732-750-1269732-750-1269 (Woodbridge Office). You can also email us at