Who is an Immediate Relative?


Although the application process may take several months, immediate relatives can immigrate to the US relatively quickly (when compared to other relatives). Once the visa petition is approved, the immediate relative may begin the application process to immigrate. This is because visas are always available for immediate relatives of US citizens. Examples of immediate relatives:

  • Theresa is married to a US citizen;

  • Mike is 11 years old and her father is a US citizen; and

  • Joyce has a US citizen son who is 31 years old.

Theresa, Mike, and Joyce all qualify as immediate relatives of a US citizen. Theresa is a spouse of a US citizen. Mike is a child of a US citizen. Joyce is a parent of a US citizen who is older than 21 years old. All these categories are recognized as immediate relatives for immigration purposes. You must file a separate visa petition for each immediate relative. However, you cannot include “derivative beneficiaries,” which basically are children of your child. Also note that immediate relatives who can adjust their status, for example, through marriage, can submit the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative at the same time as the adjustment application and do not have to wait for their visa petition approval.

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