The Immigrant Visa

Immigrant (permanent) visas are available to qualified individuals wishing to live permanently or indefinitely in the U.S.


All immigrant categories, except for immediate relatives and special immigrants, are numerically limited and subject to annual per-country quotas, often resulting in long waiting periods between the filing of an immigrant visa petition and issuance of an immigrant visa.

All applicants for an immigrant visa must demonstrate to the satisfaction of a U.S. consular officer that they are not ineligible for a visa under any of the categories of inadmissible persons listed in the Immigration and Nationality Act. If determined to be ineligible for an immigrant visa, U.S. law permits a waiver of inadmissibility in many, but not all, circumstances.

Family-Based Permanent Status

First Preference Second Preference Third Preference Fourth Preference
Unmarried Sons and Daughters (over age 21) of USC Spouses and Unmarried Children (under 21) of LPR;
Unmarried Sons and Daughters (over 21) of LPR
Married Sons and Daughters of USC Brothers and Sisters of Adult USC

Employment-Based Permanent Status

EB1: First Preference EB2: Second Preference EB3: Third Preference EB4: Fourth Preference EB5: Fifth Preference
Persons of Extraordinary Ability
Outstanding Professors and Researchers
Multinational Executives and Managers
Members of Professions Holding Advanced Degree
Aliens of Exceptional Ability
Skilled Workers, Professionals and Other Workers Religious Workers
Commuters from Border
Retired G-4 (Employee of International Organization)
Returning Residents
Minister of Religion
Immigrant Investor Visa Program