If you have a family member living outside or in the U.S. as a foreign national, you may want to help them obtain permanent residency and eventually citizenship. Here is a guide on how to initiate the process.
What is family-based immigration?
The Immigration and Nationality Act allows individuals living in the United States to petition for family members or relatives who want to immigrate to the U.S. To succeed, you will need to submit the proper documents and adhere to all the rules and regulations that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, requires to grant your family member residency in the country.
Who can you petition for?
As a citizen or a permanent resident in the U.S., you can petition for certain family members or relatives. They include:
- Your parent
- Your sibling
- Your spouse
- Your child
The process of family-based immigration
The first thing you need to do to get your family member permanent residency in the United States is to prove your connection with them. For example, if the person is your spouse, provide a legal document that shows that. If you are petitioning for your child, provide birth certificates, medical reports and other related documentation that could help.
Next, with the assistance of an attorney, file Visa Petition I-130 to USCIS for approval. For this step, you must be at least 21 years old, and you should have a home in Texas or another place in the United States where the person you are filing for can live.
After USCIS approves your petition, the agency will assign your family member a visa number, which it will take to the U.S. consulate for further processing. Alternatively, if your family member legally resides in the United States, they can file to have their immigration status changed to permanent resident.
Finally, the consular representative will arrange an interview. If your family member passes, the consular office will give them a passport to come into the country with. Please advise your family member or relative to arrive before the expiration date on their visa.