What types (classes) of US immigration visas are there?

All immigration visas – and respectively permanent resident cards (Green Cards) – may be of several types depending on the grounds for acquisition.

Classes of visas and Priority Categories:

Table 1: Family immigrants with no restrictions/ US citizens’ immediate family members

Class of visa
Granted to:
IR-1 Spouses of US citizens
IR-2 Children of US citizens under 21 years old
IR-3 Children adopted by US citizens abroad
IR-4 Children coming to the USA to be adopted by US citizens
IR-5 Parents of US citizens
CR-1 Spouses of US citizens (conditional status)
CR-2 Children of US citizens (conditional status)
IW-1 Spouses of  deceased US citizens
IW-2 Children of persons who acquired the IW-1 visa/status

Table 2: Family immigrants restricted by the number of annually issued visas

Class of visa
Priority Category
Granted to:
F1 First (1st ) Unmarried children of US citizens
F2A Second (2nd) Spouses and/or children under 21 years old of permanent residents
F2B Second (2nd) Unmarried children over 21 years old of permanent residents
F3 Third (3rd) Married children of US citizens
F4 Fourth (4th) Brothers and sisters of US residents

Note: The priority in case of family immigration depends on the status of the petitioner (US citizen or permanent resident) and their relation to the candidate for entry visa acquisition

Table 3: Work immigration by the number of annually issued visas

Class of visa
Priority Category
Granted to:
E1 First (1st ) Priority workers
E2 Second (2nd) Highly educated persons or persons with outstanding achievements in science, arts or business
E3 Third (3rd) Professionals and qualified workers
E3 (EW) Third (3rd) Other workers
E4 Fourth (4th) Special immigrants – for example, religious ministers
E5 (C5) Fifth (5th) Investors creating working positions outside target regions
E5 (T5) Fifth (5th) Investors creating working positions in target regions

Note: The priority in case of work immigration depends on the candidate’s qualifications and the need in working force in the USA.

Table 4: Returning former permanent residents

Class of visa
Granted to:
SB-1 Permanent residents wishing to return to the USA after staying abroad for over 1 year or upon reentry permit expiration

Persons who won the visa lottery get the DV-1 (for the principal applicant) and DV-2 visas (for the spouse and children of the person who got the DV-1 visa).

Besides, there are two more types of visa for entering persons, who will be entitled to gain the permanent resident status in futur.  These are the so-called ’92 visa’ and ’93 visa’.

The ’92 visa’ is granted to refugees, who got a state permission to come to the USA to live in the country due to persecution in their homeland.

The ’93 visa’ is granted to spouses and children of persons who were granted asylum in the USA. Such persons’ spouses and children are entitled to come to the USA to reunite with their spouse/parent.