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Although the common meaning of this is a close family relation, it has a more specific meaning in immigration law. immediate relatives are a category of prospective immigrants who include a u.s. citizen’s spouse, minor children (under the age of 21), and parents (so long as the citizen is at least 21 years old). immediate relatives have an immediate right to apply for u.s. permanent residence (assuming their u.s. family member agrees to start the process on their behalf) — unlike more distant relatives, they aren’t subject to yearly limits on the numbers who can apply for permanent residence.

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