Whether holding citizenship or permanent residency, parents may file an immigrant visa petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to bring their children to the U.S. During the process, applicants must consider their child’s age and marital status since they actually play a significant role in the immigration process.
Categories by age and civil status
In addition to whether the individual is a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, the law categorizes the citizen or resident’s family members based on age and civil status. This way, the U.S. immigration agency can identify the preferred applicants. The following are the categories of relation:
- First preference: an unmarried son or daughter 21 years or older of U.S. citizens
- Second preference (A): an unmarried child under 21 years old of a permanent resident
- Second preference (B): an unmarried child 21 years or older of a permanent resident
- Third preference: a married son or daughter and their spouse of U.S. citizens
- Fourth preference: siblings of U.S. citizens
These classifications can give an idea of how long the applicant’s family members may have to wait before they can immigrate.
Effect on waiting time
Age and marital status play an essential role in how soon your son or daughter can immigrate. For instance, the law prioritizes unmarried and minor children over married and older children. The country caps the number of green cards per preference category annually. Due to these limits, it may take years for them to receive a green card after the approval of their petition.
Whichever category a family member falls under, an applicant must ensure all the documents are complete and meet the requirements. This is to avoid the risk of additional waiting time or worse, application denial.