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Preference Relative

Besides the immediate relatives of US citizen, there are still some other close family members of citizens and permanent residents who are allowed to immigrate. But they are subject to annual numerical limitations. And the following are other relatives who are allowed to immigrate:

These people are subdivided into four categories as following:
First preference (F-1): Unmarried adult children above 21 of US citizens;
Second preference (F-2):
 A). Spouses and Unmarried children under 21 of permanent residents;
 B). Unmarried adult children above 21 of permanent residents;
Third preference (F-3): Married adult children of US citizens;
Fourth preference (F-4): Siblings of US citizens.

Priority Date & Visa Bulletin
The F category applicants should pay close attention to their priority dates (the date the USCIS first received the immigrant petition (Form I-130) filed on the alien's behalf). It determines when they can file an application to adjust status to permanent resident (Form I-485) or Consular Processing.

If their priority date is earlier than the cut-off date published by the State Department in the Visa Bulletin, then they may apply for adjustment of status. Otherwise, they must wait until the cut-off date pass their priority date. Therefore, the earlier the priority date is, the quicker the alien is eligible to get his/her green card.

Case Upgrade
One can upgrade one's case due to divorce of the beneficiary or naturalization of the applicant.

For example, if the applicant who was originally Green Card holder was naturalized, the beneficiary enjoying F-2A can be upgraded to IR-1 and IR-2, and the beneficiary enjoying F-2B can be upgraded to F-1.And if the beneficiary of F-3 got divorced, he/she can be upgraded to F-1, unmarried children of US citizen, or IR-2, unmarried children under 21 of US citizen.

Attention should be paid that upgrade cannot occur automatically; one should submit appropriate documents to USCIS, NVC, or Consulate where the case is proceeding. One can choose whether to upgrade the case or not.

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