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Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas

If you have immediate relatives who are U.S. citizens, they can apply for immediate relative immigrant visas. An “immediate relative” is defined as a spouse, parent, or unmarried child under age 21.

Unlike all other immigrant visa categories, the number of immediate relative visas issued each year is unlimited, and not subject to national quotas.

The following visa categories are for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens:

  • IR-1: Spouse of U.S. citizen
  • IR-2: Unmarried child below 21 of U.S. citizen
  • IR-3: Orphan adopted abroad by U.S. citizen
  • IR-4: Orphan to be adopted in the United States by U.S. citizen
  • IR-5: Parent of U.S. citizen

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Family Preference Immigrant Visas​

Distant relatives of U.S. citizens and specific relatives of Green Card holders can apply for family preference visas. The relationship between the U.S. citizen or Green Card holder and the relative determines the family preference category.

All immigrant visa categories with annual quotas also have national quotas of 7% of the total. For example, if the annual quota for F-1 visas is 23,400, the annual quota for Indians is only 1,638.

These categories, followed in parentheses by the annual quota of visas issued globally and the number available to those born in India, are:

  • F-1: Unmarried child of U.S. citizen and minor children (23,400 total, 1,638 Indians)
  • F-2A: Spouse or minor child of Green Card holder (87,934 total, 6,155 Indians)
  • F-2B: Unmarried adult children of Green Card holder (26,266 total, 1,838 Indians)
  • F-3: Married child of U.S. citizen, his or her spouse, and their minor children (23,400 total, 1,638 Indians)
  • F-4: Sibling of U.S. citizen, his or her spouse, and their minor children (65,000 total, 4,550 Indians)

Indians Face Long Waits for Most Family Visas

Because the number of applications under most Family Preference categories exceeds annual quotas, Indians can face long waiting times. As of July 2020, waiting times for Indians were at least:

  • F-1: quota exceeded – at least five year wait for Indians
  • F-2A: quota available – no wait for Indians
  • F-2B: quota exceeded – at least four year wait for Indians
  • F-3: quota exceeded – at least eleven year wait for Indians
  • F-4: quota exceeded – at least fifteen year wait for Indians

Note that these waiting times do not include the additional time required for the processing of visa applications, which can take up to three years.

To know more about options for settling in the USA

Employment-based Immigrant Visas

There is a global quota of approximately 140,000 employment-based Green Cards available each year. Each of the five employment-based categories has its own set of requirements that must be met before an applicant will receive his or her permanent resident status.

All immigrant visa categories with annual quotas also have national quotas of 7% of the total. For example, if the annual quota for EB-1 visas is 40,400, the annual quota for Indians is only 2,802).

These categories, followed in parentheses by the annual quota of visas issued globally, and the number available to those born in India are:

  • EB-1: Foreign nationals who demonstrate extraordinary ability in their field (40,040 total, 2,802 Indians)
  • EB-2: Professionals who hold advanced degrees or who possess exceptional ability (40,040 total, 2,802 Indians)
  • EB-3: Skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled workers (40,040 total, 2,802 Indians)
  • EB-4: Special immigrants – only applies to Indians who are physicians or religious workers
  • EB-5: Immigrant investors (9,940 total, 695 Indians)

Indians Face Long Waits for Most Employment Visas

Because the number of applications under most Employment Visa categories exceeds annual quotas, Indians can face long waiting times. As of July 2020, waiting times for Indians were at least:

  • EB-1: quota exceeded – at least three year wait for Indians
  • EB-2: quota exceeded – at least eleven year wait for Indians
  • EB-3: quota exceeded – at least eleven year wait for Indians
  • EB-4: quota available – no wait for Indians
  • EB-5: quota available – no wait for Indians 

Note that these waiting times do not include the additional time required for the processing of visa applications, which can take two to three years.

EB-5 is the fastest and easiest way to get a US Green Card

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