Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are not subject to numerical restrictions like other family members. Immediate relatives include spouses, children under age 21 and parents of of U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens applying for their parents must be over 21 years old.
Family Sponsored Preferences
Unmarried sons and daughter of U.S. citizens can claim up to 23, 400 visas annually under the first preference classification. The petitioner must establish that the beneficiary qualifies as her “child”. If the beneficiary is not an adult then he or she may qualify as an “immediate relative”.
The Second Preference is designed for spouses and unmarried sons, and daughters of lawful permanent residents. There is an allotment of about 114,000 visas a year plus any leftovers from First Preferences.
Battered Spouses and Children
Spouses and children of U.S. citizens or permanent residents may petition for themselves provided they had been abused by the U.S. citizen or permanent resident. In other words, battered spouses and children do not need a petitioner and may petition for legal residence on their own behalf.
The Third Preference allows married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens to apply for family based immigration. Each year 23,400 are allotted to Third Preference category.
The Fourth Preference family immigration group is designated for brothers and sisters of U.S. adult citizens. Even though the annual allotment for this category is 65,000 visas, there is a long backlog.