Preference Category Petitions

There are four family-based “preference” categories. These family-based preference categories are subject to a quota system and will usually carry priority date backlogs, with certain countries having much heavier backlogs than others. The person’s priority date is established s of the day upon which the USCIS Service Center receives the I-130 on behalf of that person.

The family-based preference categories are as follows:

  • First: unmarried son/daughters of USCs (over age of 21)
  • Second:
    • 2A: spouses and children of LPRs (under 21)
    • 2B: unmarried sons/daughters of LPRs (over 21)
  • Third: married sons/daughters of USCs
  • Fourth: siblings of USCs

Because backlogs exist in each of the family-based preference categories, it is not possible to file the I-130 with an adjustment of status (AOS) package (if the relative is in the United States). AOS package can only be filed when a visa is “immediately available”. This differs from the immediate relative case, where there is no backlog.