There are different ways to obtain permanent residency - either through family, job offer, diversity program (visa lottery) or a special program.
Several of these procedures require obtaining an immigrant visa, are classified into categories based on a preference system, and are subject to numerical limitations. This means that there is a limit to the number of visas issued in each category.
The type of preference determines the priority, that is, how long the person will have to wait to receive an immigrant visa for permanent residence.
Preferences are determined by the type of relationship or job and country of origin of the person.
Types of Family Preference:
* First preference (F1): unmarried children, over 21 years of age, of U.S. citizens.
* Second preference A (F2A): spouses of permanent residents and unmarried children, under 21 years of age, of permanent residents.
* Second preference B (F2B): unmarried children, over 21 years of age, of permanent residents.
* Third preference (F3): married children of U.S. citizens, their spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age.
* Fourth preference (F4): siblings of U.S. citizens, their spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age.
Types of Employment Preference:
* First preference (EB-1): priority workers.
* Second preference (EB-2): professionals with advanced degrees and persons of exceptional ability.
* Third preference (EB-3): skilled workers, professionals and unskilled workers.
* Fourth preference (EB-4): certain special immigrants.
* Fifth preference (EB-5): immigrant investors.