Relatives Who You Can Petition for Immigration Purposes

If you are a United States citizen with family in another country, it is understandable to want them to come to the United States and spend time with you. For loved ones who plan on staying longer than a single vacation, you will need to spend a little time with a family immigration lawyer to sort out all the red tape. The process of getting a relative approved for permanent residency is called petitioning the government for a family immigration visa or Green Card, and it can be an effective way of getting a loved one into the United States. Here are some important details you need to know about petitioning for a visa for a relative:

What Types of Relatives Can You Petition For?

A very distant family relationship may not be enough to immediately get a visa for a person. The United States allows people to obtain a family immigration visa only for certain categories of relative. The types of relatives for whom you can petition include:

  • Significant others: If a person is a fiance or spouse, you can petition for them.
  • Children: You can petition for any of your children, regardless of the child’s age or marital status.
  • Parents: You must be over 21 to petition a visa for your parents.
  • Siblings: You can petition for your brothers and sisters as long as you are over 21.
  • Children of spouses: Petitions for children of spouses are only allowed for children under the age of 21 and unmarried.
  • Children of fiances: If your fiance has children under the age of 21 that are unmarried, you can petition for them too.

Do All Relative Types Get the Same Visa Preference?

Keep in mind that your family based immigration lawyer will not automatically be able to get visas for some family members. The United States government always gives visas to those who are immediate relatives, which means those who are spouses of citizens, unmarried children under the age of 21 of citizens, or parents of citizens who are over the age of 21, but other types of family members may have to wait longer for a visa.

There is a set number of visas allotted for each category of family member, and visas are assigned to these preference categories based on when they filed their initial I-130 form. Here are the preference levels for different family members:

  • First preference: This category includes all unmarried sons and daughters who are the child of a citizen and are over the age of 21.
  • Second preference: Spouses of green card holders and unmarried children of permanent residents.
  • Third preference: People in this group are married sons or daughters of citizens.
  • Fourth preference: This category is for siblings of adult United States citizens.

What Is the Process of Petition Citizenship for a Relative Like?

You need to fill out quite a few different forms, so it can be helpful to have a family based immigration lawyer that can walk you through all the steps. One of the first things your immigration lawyer Los Angeles will recommend that you do is file an I-130 form. This formally establishes that you have a qualifying relationship with the relative.

You may then need to wait for a visa to become available if the relative is not an immediate family member. Once the visa is available, you file an official application for permanent residence. Relatives who are not currently within the United States will have to send their petition to the National Visa Center and then process it through their consulate.

Different forms will need to be filled out depending on what type of family member you are trying to petition for. For example, a fiance would file a form I-129F, while a sibling would file a form I-485. After they are processed, you or your relative may need to submit additional evidence or go to interviews, but these steps are not always required. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will then make their decision and let you know if the person can obtain their visa.

Looking for an immigration lawyer Los Angeles? At Alami Law, we have plenty of experience managing immigration cases. Call us today at 1-888-549-7357 to learn more about how our talented family immigration lawyer can help you.