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Family Based Immigration -

Immediate Relative Visas


There are two groups of family based immigrant visa categories, immediate relatives and family preference categories, which are provided under the provisions of United States immigration law.  Please visit our section on family preference categories here.  Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas are visa types are based on a close family relationship with a United States (U.S.) citizen described as an Immediate Relative (IR).  The number of immigrants in these categories is not limited each fiscal year.  Immediate relative visa types include:


IR-1: Spouse of a U.S. Citizen:


A spouse is a legally wedded husband or wife.  Merely living together does not qualify a marriage for immigration.  Common-law spouses may qualify as spouses for immigration purposes depending on the laws of the country where the common-law marriage occurs.  In cases of polygamy, only the first spouse may qualify as a spouse for immigration.


U.S. Sponsor Minimum Age Requirement - There is no minimum age for a U.S. sponsor (petitioner) to file a petition for a spouse. However, you must be at least 18 years of age and have a residence (domicile) in the U.S. before you can sign the Affidavit of Support (Form I-864 or I-864EZ). This form is required for an immigrant visa for a spouse and other relatives of U.S. sponsors.


Residence in the U.S. for the U.S. Sponsor - As a U.S. sponsor/petitioner, you must maintain your principal residence (also called domicile) in the United States, which is where you plan to live for the foreseeable future. Living in the United States is required for a U.S. sponsor to file the Affidavit of Support, with few exceptions.


IR-2: Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen


IR-3: Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen


IR-4: Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. Citizen


IR-5: Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old



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