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A Complete Guide to Green Card Categories

A Complete Guide to Green Card Categories title

Author: Massiel Silva Tadeo, Founder, Tadeo & Silva

Attorney Massiel Silva Tadeo is a partner and owner at The Tadeo & Silva Law Firm. She specializes in removal (deportation) defense, family immigration, and hardship waivers. Published on: May 18, 2020, Last updated on: May 23, 2020.

Green card eligibility categories are defined by USCIS and explain what groups of people may be eligible for green cards, also known as permanent residency.

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Whether you are in Atlanta or anywhere in the United States, Tadeo & Silva is able to take your immigration case and give you the best results your case can get. Our attorneys have managed cases from clients all over the country and internationally.

Green Card Categories

Green card eligibility categories describe the immigrant visa category that is used to admit an immigrant to the United States as a permanent resident or conditional permanent resident. The field is also known as “class of admission.”

In order to apply for a Green Card and obtain permanent residency in the US, you must be eligible under one of these categories:

  • Eligibility through family (as family-based immigration)
  • Eligibility through employment
  • Eligibility as a special immigrant
  • Eligibility through human trafficking or crime victim
  • Eligibility as victim of abuse
  • Eligibility through other categories
  • Eligibility through registry (a United States resident continuously prior to January 1, 1972)

These categories have multiple sub-categories based on either familial relationship, employment status, or country of origin.

When it comes to family members, you can apply for a green card if you are an immediate relative of a United States citizen, or more precisely if you are his or her spouse, child, or parent.

However, a familial or marital relationship have to be proven by providing, for example, a marriage certificate. Spouses also have to demonstrate that they didn’t enter into marriage primarily for the purposes of getting a green card. Also, spouses are usually entitled to an immigrant visa immediately. The intending immigrant also has to apply for permanent residence.

But, family preference categories also include other family relationships with United States citizens, as well as certain relationships with permanent residents. These family members have to wait until an immigrant visa becomes available for them. When that occurs, they can apply for an adjustment of status to permanent resident status in case they are located in the United States. If they are located outside the United States, they have to apply for a green card via the consular procedure in their home country, at a U.S. consulate or embassy.

Abuse victims of domestic violence, can apply for a green card through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and seek relief. An asylee or a refugee can apply for a permanent residence status one year after being granted asylum or refugee status.

To learn more about your options for attaining permanent residence in the United States, please contact the expert attorneys at Tadeo & Silva.

Green Card Categories section

Questions about the Green Card?

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What Are Green Card Categories?

Green Card eligibility categories are the types of situations that apply to individuals when they apply to become a permanent resident of the United States. These categories are based on one of the following: family relationship, employment situation, victims of crime/human trafficking, abuse, refugee status, special immigrant status, length of continuous residency in the US, or “other categories”.

The expert attorneys at Tadeo & Silva can clarify these categories as you pursue your dream of becoming a permanent resident of the United States.

How Do I Find My Green Card Category?

The Green Card category code is used to describe the immigrant visa category that was used to admit an immigrant to the U.S. as a permanent resident or conditional permanent resident. It is located on the front side of the Green Card next to the cardholder’s A-number. This field is also known as the class of admission. Green Cards are also known as Permanent Resident Cards.

A Green Card Category number is typically composed of one or two letters followed by a number.

If you are interested in learning which category code applies to your situation and beginning the process toward becoming a United States resident, the immigration attorneys at Tadeo & Silva can help.

How Do I Find My Green Card Category

Green Card Eligibility Categories Made Simple

Tadeo & Silva, immigration attorneys in Atlanta are an experienced team ready to fight for you and your family.

List of Green Card Category Codes

There are currently 115 Green Card category codes. You can find the complete list below or on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website here.

Green Card Eligibility Category Codes

The largest group of lawful permanent residents or recipients of green cards are immediate relatives of U.S. citizens.

Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens

IR1 – Spouse of a U.S. citizen.
IR6 – Spouse of a U.S. citizen.
CR1 – Spouse of a U.S. citizen. Conditional.
CR6 – Spouse of a U.S. citizen. Conditional.
IB1 – Spouses of U.S. citizens, new arrivals, self-petitioning.
IB6 – Spouses of U.S. citizens, adjustments, self-petitioning.
IW1 – Spouses of U.S. citizens, widows or widowers, new arrivals.
IW6 – Spouses U.S. citizens, widows or widowers, adjusted status.
CF1 – Alien whose record of admission is created upon the conclusion of a valid marriage contract after entering as a fiancé or fiancée of a U.S. citizen. Conditional.
IF1 – Alien whose record of admission is created upon the conclusion of a valid marriage contract after entering as a fiancé or fiancée of a U.S. citizen.
IR2 – Child of a U.S. citizen.
IR7 – Child of a U.S. citizen, adjusted status.
CR2 – Stepchild of a U.S. citizen. Conditional.
CR7 – Stepchild of a U.S. citizen. Conditional; adjusted status.
AR1 – Children of an U.S. citizen, Amerasian, born in Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, or Laos, new arrivals.
AR6 – Children, Amerasian, born in Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, or Laos, adjusted status.
IB2 – Child of a U.S. citizen, self-petitioning, new arrivals.
IB7 – Child of U.S. citizen, self-petitioning adjusted status.
IB3 – Child or children of an alien IB1 or IB6, new arrivals.
IB8 – Child or children of an alien IB1 or IB6, adjusted status.
IW2 – Child or children of an alien IW1 or IW6, new arrivals.
IW7 – Child or children of an alien IW1 or IW6, adjusted status.
CF2 – Minor stepchild of an alien classified as CF1. Conditional.
IF2 – Minor child of an alien classified as IF1.
IH3 – Child adopted abroad under the Hague Convention, new arrivals.
IH8 – Child adopted abroad under the Hague Convention, adjusted status.
IH4 – Child or children who are going to be adopted under the Hague Convention, new arrivals.
IH9 – Child or children who are going to be adopted under the Hague Convention, adjusted status.
IR3 – Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen.
IR8 – Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen.
IR4 – Orphan to be adopted by a U.S. citizen.
IR9 – Orphan to be adopted by a U.S. citizen.
IR5 – Parent of a U.S. citizen.
IR0 – Parent of a U.S. citizen.
IB5 – Parent of a U.S. citizen who are abused or battered, self-petitioning, new arrivals.
IB0 – Parent of a U.S. citizen who are abused or battered, self-petitioning, adjusted status.

Family Sponsored Preferences

Members of the family who are not immediate relatives may also be eligible for green cards under this category.

First Preference

A11 – Unmarried Amerasian daughters or sons of a U.S. citizen, new arrivals.
A16 – Unmarried Amerasian daughters or sons of a U.S. citizen, adjusted status.
F11 – Unmarried son or daughter of a U.S. citizen.
F16 – Unmarried sons or daughters of a U.S. citizen, adjusted status.
B11 – Unmarried daughter or son of a U.S. citizen, self-petitioning, new arrivals.
B16 – Unmarried daughter or son of a U.S. citizen, self-petitioning, adjusted status.
A12 – Child of an alien A11 or A16, new arrivals.
A17 – Child of an alien A11 or A16, adjusted status.
F12 – Child of an alien classified as F11 or F16.
F17 – Child of an alien classified as F11 or F16.
B12 – Child of an alien B11 or B16, new arrivals.
B17 – Child of an alien B11 or B16, adjusted status.

Second Preference

F21 – Spouse of a lawful permanent resident alien (subject to country limitations).
F26 – Spouse of a lawful permanent resident alien (subject to country limitations).
B21 – Spouses of permanent residents, self-petitioning, new arrivals.
B26 – Spouses of permanent residents, self-petitioning, adjusted status.
C21 – Spouse of a lawful permanent resident alien (subject to country limitations). Conditional.
C26 – Spouse of a lawful permanent resident alien (subject to country limitations). Conditional.
FX1 – Spouse of a lawful permanent resident alien (exempt from country limitations).
FX6 – Spouse of a lawful permanent resident alien (exempt from country limitations).
BX1 – Spouses of alien residents (lawful permanent residents), exempt from country limitations, self-petitioning, new arrivals.
BX6 – Spouses of alien residents (lawful permanent residents), exempt from country limitations, self-petitioning, adjusted status.
CX1 – Spouse of a lawful permanent resident alien (exempt from country limitations). Conditional.
CX6 – Spouse of a lawful permanent resident alien (exempt from country limitations). Conditional.
F22 – Child (under 21 years of age) of a lawful permanent resident alien (subject to country limitations).
F27 – Child (under 21 years of age) of a lawful permanent resident alien (subject to country limitations).
B22 – Child of legal permanent resident, subject to country limitations, self-petitioning, new arrivals.
B27 – Child of legal permanent resident, subject to country limitations, self-petitioning, adjusted status.
C23 – Child of an alien classified as C21, C22, C26, or C27 (subject to country limitations). Conditional.
C28 – Child of an alien classified as C21, C22, C26, or C27 (subject to country limitations). Conditional.
B23 – Child of an alien B21, B22, B26, or B27, subject to country limitations, new arrivals.
B28 – Child of an alien B21, B22, B26, or B27, subject to country limitations, adjusted status.
F23 – Child of an alien classified as F21 or F26 (subject to country limitations).
F28 – Child of an alien classified as F21 or F26 (subject to country limitations).
C25 – Child of an alien classified as C24 or C29. Conditional.
C20 – Child of an alien classified as C24 or C29. Conditional.
B25 – Child of an alien B24 or B29, subject to country limitations, new arrivals.
B20 – Child of an alien B24 or B29, subject to country limitations, adjusted status.
F25 – Child of an alien classified as F24 or F29 (subject to country limitations).
F20 – Child of an alien classified as F24 or F29 (subject to country limitations).
C22- Stepchild (under 21 years of age) of a lawful permanent resident alien (subject to country limitations). Conditional.
C27 – Stepchild (under 21 years of age) of a lawful permanent resident alien (subject to country limitations). Conditional.
FX2 – Child (under 21 years of age) of a lawful permanent resident alien (exempt from country limitations).
FX7 – Child (under 21 years of age) of a lawful permanent resident alien (exempt from country limitations).
BX2 – Children of permanent residents, exempt from country limitations, self-petitioning, new arrivals.
BX7 – Children of permanent residents, exempt from country limitations, self-petitioning, adjusted status.
CX3 – Child of an alien classified as CX2 or CX7 (exempt from country limitations). Conditional.
CX8 – Child of an alien classified as CX2 or CX7 (exempt from country limitations). Conditional.
BX3 – Child of an alien BX1, BX2, BX6, or BX7, exempt from country limitations, new arrivals.
BX8 – Child of an alien BX1, BX2, BX6, or BX7, exempt from country limitations, adjusted status.
FX3 – Child of an alien classified as FX1, FX2, FX7, or FX8 (exempt from country limitations).
FX8 – Child of an alien classified as FX1, FX2, FX7, or FX8 (exempt from country limitations).
CX2 – Stepchild (under 21 years of age) of a lawful permanent resident alien (exempt from country limitations). Conditional.
CX7 – Stepchild (under 21 years of age) of a lawful permanent resident alien (exempt from country limitations). Conditional.
F24 – Unmarried son or daughter (21 years of age or older) of a lawful permanent resident alien (subject to country limitations).
F29 – Unmarried sons or daughters (21 years of age or older) of a lawful permanent resident alien (subject to country limitations).
B24 – Unmarried daughter or son of a legal permanent resident, subject to country limitations, self petitioning, new arrivals.
B29 – Unmarried daughter or son of a legal permanent resident, subject to country limitations, self petitioning, adjusted status.
C24 – Unmarried son or daughter (21 years of age or older) who is a stepchild of a lawful permanent resident alien (subject to country limitations). Conditional.
C29 – Unmarried son or daughter (21 years of age or older) who is a stepchild of a lawful permanent resident alien (subject to country limitations). Conditional.

Third Preference

A31 – Married Amerasian daughter or son of a U.S. citizen born in Korea, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, or Vietnam, new arrivals.
F31 – Married son or daughter of a U.S. citizen.
C31 – Married son or daughter who is a stepchild of a U.S. citizen. Conditional.
B31 – Self-petition Married daughter or son of a U.S. citizen, self petitioning, new arrivals.
A36 – Married Amerasian daughters or sons of U.S. citizens born in Korea, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, or Vietnam, adjusted status.
F36 – Married son or daughter of a U.S. citizen.
C36 – Married son or daughter who is a stepchild of a U.S. citizen. Conditional.
B36 – Self-petition married daughter or son of a U.S. citizen, self-petitioning, adjusted status.
A32 – Spouses of aliens A31 or A36, new arrivals.
A37 – Spouses of aliens A31 or A36, adjusted status.
F32 – Spouse of an alien classified as F31 or F36.
F37 – Spouse of an alien classified as F31 or F36.
C32 – Spouse of an alien classified as C31 or C36. Conditional.
C37 – Spouse of an alien classified as C31 or C36. Conditional.
B32 – Spouses of aliens B31 or B36, new arrivals.
B37 – Spouses of aliens B31 or B36, adjusted status.
A33 – Children of aliens A31 or A36, subject to country limitations, new arrivals.
A38 – Children of aliens A31 or A36, subject to country limitation, adjusted status.
F33 – Child of an alien classified as F31 or F36.
F38 – Child of an alien classified as F31 or F36.
C33 – Child of an alien classified as C31 or C36. Conditional.
C38 – Child of an alien classified as C31 or C36. Conditional.
B33 – Children of aliens B31 or B36, subject to country limitation, new arrivals.
B38 – Children of aliens B31 or B36, subject to country limitation, adjusted status.

Fourth Preference

F41 – Brother or sister of a U.S. citizen, new arrivals.
F46 – Brother or sister of a U.S. citizen.
F42 – Spouse of an alien classified as F41 or F46, new arrivals.
F47 – Spouse of an alien classified as F41 or F46.
F43 – Child of an alien classified as F41 or F46, new arrivals.
F48 – Child of an alien classified as F41 or F46.

Employment-based Preferences

Those looking to provide their skills needed in the United States workforce or those who want to invest in new jobs may be eligible for a green card under these preferences.

Priority Workers

E11 – Priority worker – alien with extraordinary ability.
E16 – Priority worker – alien with extraordinary ability, adjusted status.
E12 – Priority worker – outstanding professor or researcher.
E17 – Priority worker – outstanding professor or researcher, adjusted status.
E13 – Priority worker – certain multinational executive or manager.
E18 – Priority worker – certain multinational executive or manager, adjusted status.
E14 – Spouse of a priority worker classified as E11, E16, E12, E17, E13, or E18.
E19 – Spouse of a priority worker classified as E11, E16, E12, E17, E13, or E18, adjusted status.
E15 – Child of a priority worker classified as E11, E16, E12, E17, E13, or E18.
E10 – Child of priority workers classified as E11, E16, E12, E17, E13, or E18.

Professionals with exceptional ability or advanced degrees

E21 – Professional holding advanced degrees or of exceptional ability.
E26 – Professional holding advanced degrees or of exceptional ability, adjusted status.
ES1 – Soviet scientists, new arrivals.
ES6 – Soviet scientists, adjusted status.
E22 – Spouse of an alien classified as E21 or E26.
E27 – Spouse of an alien classified as E21 or E26, adjusted status.
E23 – Child of an alien classified as E21 or E26.
E28 – Child of an alien classified as E21 or E26, adjusted status.

Needed unskilled workers, skilled workers and professionals

E31 – Alien who is a skilled worker.
E36 – Alien who is a skilled worker.
E32 – Professional who holds a baccalaureate degree or who is a member of a profession.
E37 – Professional who holds a baccalaureate degree or who is a member of a profession.
EW3 – Other worker performing unskilled labor, not of a temporary or seasonal nature, for which qualified workers are not available in the U.S..
EW8 – Other worker performing unskilled labor, not of a temporary or seasonal nature, for which qualified workers are not available in the U.S..
EC6 – Chinese Student Protection Act aliens, adjusted status.
E34 – Spouse of a skilled worker or professional classified as E31, E36, E32, or E37.
E39 – Spouse of a skilled worker or professional classified as E31, E36, E32, or E37.
EW4 – Spouse of an alien classified as EW3 or EW8.
EW9 – Spouse of an alien classified as EW3 or EW8.
EC7 – Spouses of Chinese Student Protection Act aliens, adjusted status.
E35 – Child of a skilled worker or professional classified as E31, E36, E32, or E37.
E30 – Child of a skilled worker or professional classified as E31, E36, E32, or E37.
EW5 – Child of an alien classified as EW3 or EW8.
EW0 – Child of an alien classified as EW3 or EW8.
EC8 – Children of Chinese Student Protection Act aliens, adjusted status.

Other Admission Categories

AM1 – Amerasian, born in Vietnam
AM2 – Spouse/child of AM1 or AM6
AM3 – Mother, guardian or relative of AM1 or AM6
AS1 – Approved primary asylee
AS2 – Spouse of asylee
AS3 – Child of asylee
NA3 – Child born during the temporary visit abroad of a mother who is a lawful permanent resident alien or national of the U.S.
XE3 – Child born subsequent to the issuance of a visa. Parent is employment-based preference immigrant.
XF3 – Child born subsequent to the issuance of a visa. Parent is a family-based preference immigrant.
XR3 – Child born subsequent to the issuance of a visa. Parent is an immediate relative immigrant.
Y1-16, Y64 – Refugees

List of Green Card Category Codes

Assistance with Green Card Eligibility Categories

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Green Card Category Wait Times

If you’re wondering “how long does it take to get a green card?”, there are conflicting response times for green card processing based on the green card category. Additionally, in 2020, the Coronavirus crisis has impacted and delayed the wait times. 

All USCIS Atlanta interviews and biometric appointments are being rescheduled due to office closures. All applications that are received are still being processed but at a slower pace. 

Without a biometrics notice, work and travel permits are not being processed. Depending on how long office closures remain, 5-8 months extension in processing time for work and travel permits and 11-14 months extension in processing time for green cards can be expected.  

Prior to the Coronavirus impact, it was taking 7 to 33 months to process a Green Card application.

Family Preference Green Cards processing took between 1 and 10 years depending on the wait time and yearly caps. Employment-Based Green Cards processing could be from 1 year for visas that have a low demand to 4 or 6 years for visas with very high demand.

Tadeo & Silva have years of experience navigating the Atlanta immigration court and can help you as you begin your Green Card application process.

Green Card Category Wait Times

A Complete Guide to Green Card Eligibility Categories

Contact our team of trusted immigration attorneys in Atlanta.

Green Card Eligibility Categories

Immigration law in the United States specifies several categories that define specific groups of people who may be able to apply for permanent residency. If you don’t fit into one of the categories, you may not have grounds to request a green card.

Some of the reasons that a person can apply for a green card or Permanent Resident Card include:

  • A future job offer or your current employment
  • Status as a refugee or asylee
  • Status of your family members
  • Various other special previsions

Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to self-petition for permanent residency. An experienced immigration attorney can assist you with this process since there are many nuances.

Once you apply for permanent residence, you will be classified into a category, and each category is assigned a certain preference level or priority. Immediate relatives of current U.S. citizens are given the highest priority. For most other categories, there are limits on the number of visas that can be granted each year. These limits are determined by the U.S. Government, specifically the United States Congress.

The expert immigration attorneys at Tadeo & Silva can help you through the process of attaining permanent residency in the United States, setting you on the path to living the American Dream. Contact us to begin your journey toward immigration to the United States today.

Green Card Eligibility Categories

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