Family Members of Lawful Permanent Residents
How do family-based immigrant visas work?
Sometimes when an individual immigrates to the United States, their family still remains in their home country. If you are a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. and are interested in bringing a family member into the country, you can pursue a family-based immigrant visa. A family-based visa can allow your spouse, fiancee, child, sibling, or parent to become a permanent resident.
If you will be filing a petition for your relative, it’s a good idea to first ensure that they are eligible to be sponsored. If you are a U.S. citizen, you can always sponsor a son or daughter under age 21, a spouse, or a parent if you are at least 21 years old yourself. These are referred to as “immediate relatives.”
If a relative does not qualify as an “immediate relative” you may be able to sponsor them if they are a child over 21 or a brother or sister, but there could be a wait time depending on the
relationship and their country of origin. Unfortunately, you cannot sponsor your grandparents, cousins, aunts/uncles, or nephews/nieces.
After confirming that you and your relative are eligible and not barred from entering the country for any reason, the first piece of paperwork you’ll need to file is a Petition for Alien Relative, or Form I-130, to U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services. This document establishes your relationship with your relative.
If the I-130 is approved, your relative can apply for permanent resident status. The process depends on whether your relative is currently in the United States or abroad. If already in the U.S., he/she files for adjustment of status through an I-485 with USCIS. This application requires several things, such as a medical examination and affidavit of support from the petitioning relative. If your relative is abroad, the approved I-130 will be sent to the consulate in his/her home country. The applicant will submit supporting evidence and fees to the consulate, which will interview him/her and make a final decision on his/her application.
Hire an Experienced Immigration Attorney for Your Family Visa
There are many forms, restrictions, and limitations involved in petitioning for a family member. Since the requirements can be confusing or overwhelming, having an immigration lawyer guide your family through this process is beneficial. Seeking legal assistance from an attorney can ensure that you and your loved one’s rights are protected.
Salmon-Haas have a strong background in family immigration and are happy to provide a free consultation to discuss how we can help. If you or a family member would like more information regarding a San Antonio family-based immigration case, please contact our offices today.