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Family Preference Category Visas

NOTE: If you are the spouse, minor child or parent of a U.S. citizen, then you are an immediate relative so the preference categories do not apply to you. Go here instead.

U.S. immigration law allows certain noncitizens who are family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to become lawful permanent residents (get a Green Card) based on specific family relationships.

Other family members eligible to apply for a Green Card are described in the following family “preference immigrant” categories:

Derivative beneficiaries exist for family preference category cases only. Immediate relative visa petitions do not have derivatives.

Eligibility Criteria for Adjustment as Derivative Applicant

In order to be eligible for a Green Card as a derivative applicant in a family-based preference category, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You properly file your Form I-485:
    • Together with the principal applicant’s Form I-485 (and the principal applicant’s Form I-485 is ultimately approved);
    • While the principal applicant’s Form I-485 is still pending with USCIS (and we ultimately approve their Form I-485);
    • After we approve the principal applicant’s Form I-485, if:
      • They are still a lawful permanent resident, and
      • You were their spouse or child at the time we approved their Form I-485; or
    • After the principal applicant obtained an immigrant visa and was admitted into the United States as a lawful permanent resident, as long as:
      • They are still a lawful permanent resident, and
      • You were their spouse or child at the time they were admitted into the United States;
  • You are currently the principal applicant’s spouse or child;
  • You were inspected and admitted or inspected and paroled into the United States;
  • You are physically present in the United States at the time you file your Form I-485;
  • An immigrant visa is immediately available when you file your Form I-485 and when we make a final decision on your application. (For information on visa availability, see Visa Availability and Priority DatesAdjustment of Status Filing Charts, and the Department of State website to view the Visa Bulletin.)
  • None of the applicable bars to adjustment of status apply to you;
  • You are admissible to the United States for lawful permanent residence or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief; and
  • You merit the favorable exercise of our discretion (this means the positive factors in your case outweigh the negative factors.
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