USA | San Francisco

(415) 900-4405

USA | San José

(408) 963-0355

USA | Sacramento

(916) 349-2900

USA | Napa

(707) 408-8100

USA | Walnut Creek

(925) 222-5074

Mexico | Mexico City

(+52) 55-94170337

Mexico | Guadalajara

(+52) 33-59859217

Mexico | Monterrey

(+52) 55-94146614


Understanding the I-130 Preference Categories

I-130 Preference Category


At KPB Immigration Law Firm, we understand the complexities and nuances of U.S. immigration law, particularly concerning family-based immigration. One essential aspect of family immigration is the I-130 petition, which serves as the initial step in bringing relatives to the United States. In this article, we'll delve into the intricacies of the I-130 preference categories and how they impact the immigration process for families.

Explaining the I-130 Petition:

The I-130 petition is filed by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) to establish a relationship with a foreign family member who seeks to immigrate to the United States. This form is the cornerstone of family-based immigration, enabling eligible relatives to obtain lawful permanent residency and eventually, citizenship.

Understanding Preference Categories:

The U.S. immigration system categorizes family-sponsored immigrants into different preference categories, each with its own priority level and allocation of visas. These categories determine the order in which immigrant petitions are processed and the availability of immigrant visas.

Immediate Relatives:

1. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens fall under this category, which includes spouses, unmarried children under 21 years old, and parents (if the petitioner is over 21 years old). Unlike other preference categories, there is no numerical limit on the number of visas available for immediate relatives, leading to faster processing times.

Family Preference Categories:

2. For relatives who do not qualify as immediate relatives, the I-130 petition falls under one of the four family preference categories:

  • F1: Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, along with their minor children.
  • F2A: Spouses and unmarried children (under 21) of lawful permanent residents.
  • F2B: Unmarried sons and daughters (21 and older) of lawful permanent residents.
  • F3: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, along with their spouses and minor children.
  • F4: Siblings of adult U.S. citizens, along with their spouses and minor children.

Priority Dates and Visa Availability:

Each preference category has a designated priority date, which is the date USCIS receives the Form I-130 petition. Visa availability depends on the applicant's priority date and the visa bulletin published monthly by the Department of State. Applicants must wait for their priority date to become current before proceeding with the immigration process.

How KPB Immigration Law Firm Can Help:

Navigating the intricacies of the I-130 preference categories and the overall family immigration process can be daunting. At KPB Immigration Law Firm, our experienced attorneys specialize in guiding clients through every step of the immigration journey. From initial consultation to petition preparation and representation before USCIS, we are committed to providing personalized and effective legal solutions for families seeking to reunite in the United States.


The I-130 preference categories play a vital role in determining the eligibility and timeline for family-based immigration to the United States. Understanding these categories and their implications is essential for families navigating the complex U.S. immigration system. With the expertise and support of KPB Immigration Law Firm, families can overcome obstacles and achieve their immigration goals with confidence.

If you're ready to begin the immigration process or have questions about family-based immigration, contact KPB Immigration Law Firm today for a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.