Immigrant Visa Categories
Immigrant Visa Categories
An immigrant visa is required of anyone who wishes to enter the United States to reside there permanently, whether or not that person plans to seek employment in the United States.
Family Based Immigrant Visas:
For spouses of US citizens and US lawful permanent residents applying for family-based immigrant visas, please peruse “Information on the Legal Rights Available to Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence in the United States and Facts about Immigrating on a Marriage-Based Visa”. This information is available in English and 14 other languages including Japanese.
Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, or "green card" lottery.
Family-based Immigrant Visas:
A US citizen may file an I130 petition for the following relatives for immigration in the immediate relative category. There are no numerical limitations on Immediate Relatives immigrants.
- IR1/CR1 - Spouses of U.S. citizens
- IR2 - Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen
- IR3 - Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen
- IR4 - Orphan to be adopted in the United States by a U.S. citizen
- IR5 - Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old
- IW - Spouse of a deceased U.S. citizen
- K1 - Fiance(e) and minor children of a U.S. citizen
- K3 - Certain spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens
Family Preference Immigrant Visas
Persons seeking to immigrate in one of the family based preference categories will qualify for immigrant status only if they have the necessary relationship to a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident as described below. US citizen grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws and cousins cannot sponsor a relative for immigration. There is an annual quota for visas in the following categories. See IV Priority Dates for visa waiting periods. For additional information, see U.S. Department of State website or the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.
- F1 - Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their children
- F2A - Spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents
- F2B - Unmarried sons and daughters of legal permanent resident
- F3 - Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and children.
- F4 -Brothers and sisters of United States citizens, and their spouses and children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age.
Employment-Based Immigrant Visas:
The sponsoring employer in the U.S. must file a petition. The petitioner must demonstrate that there are no workers in the U.S. to perform the work that the applicant has the necessary training and experience to perform. See IV Priority Dates for visa waiting periods. For additional information, see U.S. Department of State website or the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.
- E1 - Priority Workers
- E2 - Professionals holding advanced degrees
- E3 - Skilled workers
- E4 - Certain special immigrants
- E5 - Investors
- SD/SR - Certain religious workers and family
Diversity Visa Program:
The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered on an annual basis by the Department of State to provide for a new class of immigrants known as diversity immigrants (DV immigrants). Up to 50,000 permanent resident visas are given out annually to persons from countries with low immigration rates to the United States.
The annual DV program makes permanent residence visas available to persons meeting simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. Applicants for Diversity Visas are chosen by a computer-generated random lottery drawing. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration, and with no visas going to citizens of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the past five years. Within each region, no one country may receive more than seven percent of the available Diversity Visas in any one year.
As in years past, the Embassy has become aware of various notices being sent via email purporting to notify recipients they have won the Diversity Visa Lottery (also known as the "Green Card Lottery"). People have also been contacted by phone. These emails and calls are in no way connected with the Embassy, the U.S. Department of State or any U.S. Government agency. Please remember that NO FEE is ever charged to enter the annual Diversity Visa (DV) program. The U.S. Government does not employ outside consultants or private services to operate the DV program. Any intermediaries or others who offer assistance to prepare DV applications or other visa paperwork do so without the authority or consent of the U.S. Government. Use of any outside intermediary or assistance to prepare a DV entry is entirely at the applicant's discretion. A qualified entry submitted electronically directly by an applicant has exactly the same chance of being selected as a winner by the computer at the Kentucky Consular Center, as does an entry submitted electronically through a paid intermediary who completes the entry for the applicant. Kentucky Consular Center in the U.S. will not be mailing out notification letters. Those selected in the random drawing are NOT notified of their selection by e-mail. For details, see here.