4 Different Immigrant Visa Types

Imagine applying for a Family-Based Immigration visa instead of a Fiancé(e) Visa?

Sometimes getting the visa isn’t the problem; knowing what type to get is.

Each year countless travellers make foreign travel plans; battalions get a rejected visa, often due to costly mistakes in their visa application.

And applying for the wrong visa type is one of the leading causes.

Since there is no universal visa for all travellers, you must know what immigration visa type to apply for.

So if you are looking forward to living and working permanently in the states, today, we will look into various categories of Immigrant visas.

Immigrant Visa Types

The various immigrant visa types are;

  • Family-Based Immigration
  • Fiancé(e) Visa
  • Employment-Based Immigration
  • Diversity Visa
  • Returning Resident Visa

And in this section, we are ONLY going to state and comprehensively explain each of these categories.

We aren’t giving any specific documents needed for each application. If anything, we will talk about eligibility and more.

So without further ado, let’s get started.

1. Family-Based Immigration

A family-based immigration visa is one of the commonly applied legal immigration to the states.

To be eligible for this visa type, you MUST be sponsored by an immediate relative at least 21 years of age.

The participation demands at least two family members — a petitioner and a beneficiary.

The petitioner sponsoring you (the foreign family member for a green card) must either be a U.S. citizen or U.S. lawful permanent resident (that owns a green card).

Furthermore, the beneficiary is you who want to apply for an immigrant visa.

All family-based immigrant visas fall under two main categories;

  • Immediate relatives
  • Family preference

Immediate relatives are classified as a spouse, unmarried children (under 21years old), or parents that are U.S. citizens.

Here, the number of immigrant visas available for the immediate relatives for each fiscal year is unlimited.

On the other hand, family preference is for all other qualified family relationships with a U.S. citizen along with some specified relationships with a lawful permanent resident.

I’m talking about;

  • Age 21 and above of  Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens —F1
  • Underage 21 of spouses and unmarried children of permanent residents —F2A
  • Unmarried adult sons and daughters with permanent Residents —F2B
  • Any age of married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens —F3
  • Adult Brothers as well as sisters who are U.S. citizens

Lastly, unlike the Immediate Relatives visa, the number of family preference immigrant visas are limited.

Each year there is a numerical cap on the number of green cards issued out to family preference visas —according to the immigration law.

Read Also: Apply For USA Student Visa To Work and Study Abroad

2. Employment-based Immigrant Visas

You can permanently live and work in the country with an Employment-Based Immigrant Visa (EB Visa).

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides over 140,000 EB visas for the immigrant worker under the provisions of U.S. immigration law each year.

Like Family-Based Immigration, the EB visa also has categories.

They are divided into five. And to get any, your prospective employer or agent MUST first obtain a labour certification approval from the Department of Labor.

Once received, the agent then files a form 1-140 —an immigrant petition for Alien Worker.

List of five preference categories as follows:

  • Employment-based First Preference (EB-1): Priority workers
  • Employment-based Second Preference (EB-2):  For Professionals who hold advanced degrees or who possess exceptional ability
  • Employment-based Third Preference (EB-3): professionals, Skilled workers, and unskilled workers
  • Employment-based Fourth Preference (EB-4): Meant for Certain special immigrants
  • Employment-based Fifth Preference (EB-5): Only for Immigrant investors

NOTE: Each of these categories has its own set of requirements that you MUST meet before receiving the permanent resident status.

3. Diversity Immigrant Visas

You can obtain a Permanent Resident Status through the Diversity Immigrant Visas Program.

This program Provide about  50,000 immigrant visas each year for foreign nationals who came from countries with historically poor rates of immigration wishing for a Permanent Resident Permit.

Although it will be a random selection among all entries, it is an intelligent way to increase the diversity of the immigrants who live in the U.S.

Hence,  is an ample opportunity for you if you don’t have any way to immigrate to the States legally.

4. Returning Resident

Suppose you are a conditional resident or a U.S. lawful permanent resident who have stayed outside the country beyond the visits period of a re-entry permit.

 In that case, you will have to apply for a Returning Resident visa at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Doing so will eliminate the requirement of a sponsor to file a petition on your behalf with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S.

You will need an SB-1 applicant for eligibility for an immigrant visa. The Interview will also include a medical examination.


So, in summary, the purpose of your travel and other facts will determine the Immigrant visa types you will get.

WARNING! This chart is only a list of many immigrant visa categories, but not all.

We only shed light on the most crowded ones.

Again, you will have to meet all of the requirements for the visa category you wish to apply for.

And when you do so at a U.S. embassy or consulate, the consular officer will then determine whether or not you are eligible to receive the visa based on laws.