IMMIGRATION THROUGH FAMILY: Immigrants can have a family member sponsor them in order to enter
the country and obtain legal residence here. However, the U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident must prove the
familial relationship and be able to provide support to their immigrating relatives.
a U.S. citizen?
Immediate Relatives: U.S. Citizens may bring their spouses, children (under 21 and
unmarried), and parents to the United States without waiting for a visa to become available.
citizens may also sponsor their sons and daughters (over 21 and/or married) or siblings (brothers and sisters),
but these relatives must wait for a visa to become available.
Fiance Visa. A U.S. citizen may bring
his/her fiance to join him/her here in the U.S. After your fiance goes through consular processing in his/her
home country, you will be united here in the U.S. The engaged couple then has 90 days from the date of arrival
in the United States to get legally married.
Are you a Permanent Resident?
resident may only petition for his/her spouse and unmarried children and these relatives must wait for a visa to
become available. An LPR may not petition for his/her parents, siblings (brothers and sisters) or married children.
Once a visa is available for the LPR's relative, they may consular process in their home country, obtain a visa and
enter the United States.
Asylees and Refugees may also petition for their spouses or unmarried
children within 2 years of being granted asylum (asylees) or entering the U.S. (refugees). INA § 208(b)(3),
INA § 207(c)(2).
PREFERENCE SYSTEM - WAITING FOR THE VISA:
There is a preference
system based on the status of the petitioning relative and relationship to the applicant. Spouses, unmarried children,
and parents of U.S. citizens do NOT have to wait for a visa once their petition is approved. However, all OTHER
relatives fall under the preference categories, and these visas sometimes take awhile, sometimes even several years,
to be issued. These categories are as follows:
- Unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens
of lawful permanent residents and their unmarried children
- Married children of U.S. citizens
- Siblings of
We will assist you in processing your family petition as quickly as possible and make sure
everything goes smoothly. We will advise you on the documents needed to submit along with other requirements, such
as medical exams, background checks and fingerprints, and we will be there to answer all the questions you may have.
Child Status Protection Act ("CSPA"): Because of the severe backlog of petitions
and the waiting time for processing of family petitions, USCIS enacted the CSPA into law in 2002. This law states that
the determination of whether a child will be eligible as "immediate relative" will be based on the date of the filing
of the petition rather than the approval of the petition.
You may check the Department of State's
Visa Bulletin (updated monthly) for an estimate as to how long you may wait for a visa number to become available.