How can I petition USCIS to bring my family or relative to the United States as a permanent resident?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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The process of petitioning the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS to bring your family or relatives to the United States as a permanent resident will depend on your own immigration status. If you are a U.S. citizen, you may sponsor the following relatives for immigration to the United States: Your spouse (husband or wife); Your sons and daughters (regardless of their age and whether or not they are married); Your parents, brothers, and sisters (if you are age 21 or older).

You must submit an application for each relative that you are requesting to bring to the United States. The first form you need to complete is Form I-130, a Petition for Alien Relative. Failure to complete the application or sign the application can result in a rejection of your request. Once you complete the application, you must also attach proof of your relationship, evidence of your U.S. citizenship, and the correct filing fees.

If the relative you are sponsoring is an immediate family member, they will be able to bypass the usual waiting lists. Immediate family members include spouses, parents, and unmarried children under 21 years of age. Other family members will be placed on a waiting list of other visa applicants from their country. Once your application is received and approved, you must sign an affidavit, Form I-864, acknowledging your willingness and ability to support the relative that you are seeking to sponsor. The final step is for USCIS to issue a visa authorizing your relative to come to the United States.

Process for Green Card Holders

If you are a green card holder, you may petition for the following parties to come to the United States: Your spouse (husband or wife); Your unmarried sons and daughters.

As a green card holder, the process for bringing a relative to the United States is similar to those discussed above. You must first submit a Form I-130 for each relative you would like to bring to the United States, and follow all subsequent procedures. The difference in the two processes relates to waiting periods. Relatives of U.S. citizens will get first priority on waiting lists, whereas relatives of green card holders will receive secondary priority.

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If you have questions about the process applicable to your situation, consult an immigration attorney to guide you through the required forms and procedures.

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