Arlington Family Preference Visa Categories

When one is not an immediate relative (spouse, unmarried child under 21, and parent of a U.S. citizen) then one falls into the family preference categories. Arlington family preference visa categories allow individuals to immigrate to the U.S. Every family preference category has a quota. If you want to learn more about family visa applications and preferences, consult an accomplished family visa attorney today.

Different Family Categories

There are four Arlington family preference visa categories.

  • Family Category One: U.S. citizen’s son and daughter over 21 years old
  • Family Category Two: Includes F-2A spouses and children under 21 of lawful permanent residents and F-2B unmarried sons and daughters over 21 of permanent residents
  • Family Category Three: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
  • Family Category Four: Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens

Applying for Family Preference Categories

When applying to get into Arlington family preference visa categories, the lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen files Form I-130. Each family preference has a number of visas that are issued, meaning that an intending immigrant will have to wait before immigrating or applying for adjustment.

Wait Times for Family Preference Categories

In order to determine how long a family preference category beneficiary must wait to adjust (file Form I-485) or apply for an Immigrant Visa (file Form DS-260), the intending immigrant should look at the State Department visa bulletin at

An intending immigrant can have multiple I-130s pending but can only apply for adjustment or immigrant visa based on one category.  If the family preference category changes because the petitioner becomes a U.S. citizen, the beneficiary can inform USCIS and change preference categories. The only downside is the expense of filing multiple I-130s. It is possible for a category that seems to be a higher preference to have a longer wait time or the possibility of that category retrogressing.

Common Mistakes When Applying for Family Preference Visas

Often, petitioners and beneficiaries will misread the visa bulletin and not understand that they will be waiting a long time to adjust or apply for an immigrant visa.  Additionally, many family preference category applicants do not understand that in order to adjust they must maintain lawful status.

When Will DAPA Be an Option?

Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) was never implemented and therefore no one can apply for it.  Whether anyone will be able to apply for DAPA in the future or what the criteria is for applying remains to be seen.

If and when DAPA becomes an option, non-citizens should gather evidence of their presence in the U.S., the birth certificates of all children born in the U.S., and evidence of ties to the community.

Value of an Arlington Visa Application Attorney

Those seeking to legalize their status should speak to an attorney to discuss options. Arlington family preference visa categories may seem complicated, which is why it could be helpful to speak with a knowledgeable family immigration lawyer. A capable attorney could work tirelessly to pursue a positive outcome for people and their families.

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