US Family based immigration is divided into two categories – immediate relatives and family preference categories.
Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas are based on a close family relationship with a United States citizen and cover the following:
- Spouse of a U.S. Citizen
- Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen
- Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen
- Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen
- Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old
The number of immigrants in the immediate relative category is not limited.
Family Preference Immigrant Visas are for more distant family relationships with a U.S. citizen and also cover some relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident. These visas are subjected to a yearly limit.
- Family First Preference: Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children, if any.
- Family Second Preference: Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of LPRs.
- Family Third Preference: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children.
- Family Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age.
The first step in the immigrant visa process is the filing of an I-130 application. US citizens living in the UK may file their applications directly with the US Embassy in London.