To bring a relative spouse, child or parent to the United States, an I-130 relative visa petition must be filed with the USCIS. There are two basic categories of relative visa petitions.
Visas are immediately available (subject to processing times) for immediate relatives of United States citizens. These include:
- spouse of a United States citizen,
- child (under 21 years old) of a United States citizen, and
- parent of a United States citizen, if the citizen is at least 21 years old.
- First Preference
– Unmarried sons or daughters of United States citizens over age 21.
- Second Preference
– Spouses and unmarried children of lawful permanent residents.
- Third Preference
– Married sons and daughters of United States citizens.
- Fourth Preference
– Brothers and sisters of United States citizens.
Preference category visas are issued on a quota basis. That means it could take many years for the visa quota number to become available. Wait times for preference categories are listed in the monthly Visa bulletin issued by the State Department.