Family Sponsored Immigration
Immediate relatives of US citizens from foreign countries, such as spouses, children and parents of adult US citizens, are able to obtain an immigrant visa immediately upon application and approval. Other family members of US citizens and legal permanent residents may apply for an immigrant visa, but there is a numerical limitation on the number issued each year and it is further categorized by the nature of the relation (i.e., brother/sister of a US citizen, married sons/daughters of US citizens, spouses of legal permanent residents, etc.). The wait for a visa in some categories may be considerable (10 years). Furthermore, the country of origin is important for the prospective immigrant. Certain countries such as China, India, Mexico and the Philippines have very long waiting times before the immigrant visa becomes available.