Family preference system
What does Family preference system mean?
Because there are a limited number of immigrant visas allowed each year there have been preferences or categories established to distribute these visas. If an individual wants to come to the U.S. based on employment or family they are divided into "preference" categories and must wait for a visa to become available.
The family preference system, however, allows for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, which includes parents, spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21, to avoid waiting for the appropriate number of immigrant visas to become available and can petition for immediate approval.
If a family member does not fall under the immediate relative categories outlined above they will be placed into preference categories. For instance, first preference is given to unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and second preference includes the spouses of legal permanent residents, and the unmarried sons and daughters of legal permanent residents and their children.