Perhaps your parents never married, and one of your parents eventually moved back to live in their country of origin. Maybe you lived much of your life abroad but have since secured permanent resident status here in the United States. After years of separation, you now want to reconnect with your family living abroad.
Having family in another country can be difficult, as there may be thousands of dollars in travel costs and months of logistical planning between you and the people that you love the most. Thankfully, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers numerous ways for those living in the United States to reconnect with family living abroad. Your status and your relationship with the other person determine what options you have.
When is it possible for you to help your brother or sister legally enter and live in the United States?
You have to be a citizen to help your sibling
Although the USCIS does manage multiple different visa programs to support families reuniting across borders, there are many limitations on who can immigrate. Your current status determines what options you have.
There are options for helping spouses enter the country that apply even for those with a work visa. However, there are fewer options for people who want to reconnect with a sibling. Currently, neither those entering the country with a visa or living in the country as a permanent resident with a green card can sponsor a sibling for permanent residence.
Only a United States citizen is in a position to help a sibling enter the country with a green card in the hope of staying here indefinitely.
Helping your family enter the country is a reason to naturalize
When you become a permanent resident, you can stay in the United States. However, your opportunities to help your family remain limited. When you become a naturalized citizen, more options to help your family are available to you.
Naturalization requires paperwork and testing, but it will increase your security here in the United States. It will also improve your access to different immigration programs to help your family enter the country. Learning more about family-based immigration can help you plan for the most expedient and effective way to reunite with your loved ones.