December 20, 2018

How can I legally help my family members immigrate to the U.S.?

Families add richness to our lives, and it can be difficult to live far away from them. Reuniting your family in the United States is a realistic goal. However, to complete your goal, it is important to understand the requirements for that process. As a permanent resident or U.S. citizen you are able to help some relatives legally immigrate to the U.S., but there are some differences in this process depending on your current status.

Who you can petition for as a lawful permanent resident

As a permanent resident, sometimes called a green card holder, you have the right to petition for your spouse, unmarried child under age 21 or unmarried children over age 21 to immigrate to the U.S. Although you can petition for these family members to immigrate, there is still a waiting period for them to receive an immigrant visa.

Who you can petition for as a U.S. citizen

As a citizen, you have some expanded rights when helping relatives come to the U.S. You are able to petition for your spouse and unmarried children under age 21 to immigrate. You are also able to petition for you parents to immigrate, as long as you are at least 21 years old. These relatives count as your immediate relatives, which means they will not have to wait for a visa because one will be immediately available. You are also able to petition for your children over age 21 and siblings to immigrate, though they may experience a waiting period before receiving an immigrant visa.

Filing a petition

You can begin this process by filling out Form I-130. You will also need to submit proof of your status as a permanent resident or citizen, as well as proof of your relationship to your family member. You may then file your petition at the filing location listed on your form. You can expect to pay a $535 filing fee and sometimes an $85 biometrics fee.

It is difficult to be away from the ones we love. That is why many people do everything they can to help bring their families together in the U.S.