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Chapter 1 - Purpose and Background

A. Purpose

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides that U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) may petition for certain alien relatives to immigrate to the United States.[1] If the petitioners and the beneficiaries of such petitions meet the eligibility requirements, beneficiaries may then pursue LPR status by applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate (otherwise known as consular processing), or, if already in the United States, by applying for adjustment of status.[2]

B. Background [Reserved]

C. Legal Authorities

  • INA 201 – Worldwide level of immigration

  • INA 202 – Numerical limitations on individual foreign states

  • INA 203 – Allocation of immigrant visas

  • INA 204; 8 CFR 204 – Procedure for granting immigrant status


[^ 1] In addition, Congress provided that certain alien relatives may self-petition in limited circumstances.

[^ 2] For more information, see Volume 7, Adjustment of Status [7 USCIS-PM].


No appendices available at this time.


Technical Update - Moving the Adjudicator’s Field Manual Content into the USCIS Policy Manual

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating and incorporating relevant Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) content into the USCIS Policy Manual. As that process is ongoing, USCIS has moved any remaining AFM content to its corresponding USCIS Policy Manual Part, in PDF format, until relevant AFM content has been properly incorporated into the USCIS Policy Manual. To the extent that a provision in the USCIS Policy Manual conflicts with remaining AFM content or Policy Memoranda, the updated information in the USCIS Policy Manual prevails. To find remaining AFM content, see the crosswalk (PDF, 327.05 KB) between the AFM and the Policy Manual.

Technical Update - Replacing the Term “Foreign National”

This technical update replaces all instances of the term “foreign national” with “alien” throughout the Policy Manual as used to refer to a person who meets the definition provided in INA 101(a)(3) [“any person not a citizen or national of the United States”].