Immigration Options for Immediate RelativesAs a United States citizen, you have the ability to help bring your immediate family to the United States by petitioning for them.  In order to qualify for this category, you, the petitioner, must be a U.S. citizen.  The eligible family members include the petitioner’s:

  • Spouse
  • Parents, as long as the petitioner is at least 21 years old
  • Unmarried children who are younger than the age of 21

Under this category, there are no limits to the number of immediate relatives who might immigrate from any country.  Another advantage is that if the relative entered the United States in a lawful manner then the relative is exempt from certain “bars,” such as unauthorized employment or overstaying their time of admission.  Please seek the advice of an experienced immigration attorney since there are exceptions, such as some entries under the Visa Waiver Program or Crewman on ships.

If an applicant is an immediate relative then Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status, may be simultaneously filed, along with an application for Work Authorization.  It is important to note that additional paperwork is required such as the Affidavit of Support, Form I-864.  Our firm has the required experience and training to assist you and your relatives through this process.

If your relative qualifies under the immediate relatives category, and is currently present in the United States, then he or she can apply for work authorization and possibly advanced parole while their application is pending.

Other Relatives

In addition to immediate family members, there are other classes of relatives for which you may petition for immigration status if you are a United States citizen.

Fiancé(e) and children of fiancé(e)

For a fiancé(e), Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) must be filed with the USCIS.  For unmarried children of your fiancé(e) that are under the age of 21, their names must be included on the Form I-129F petition.  A K-2 Non-Immigrant Visa may be an option for the children of a fiancé(e).

Same-sex couples

Because of the changes in the law, same-sex couples are also eligible to petition on behalf of their same-sex spouse or fiancé(e).

Family-based preference categories

There are preference categories that apply to siblings, married sons and daughters, and children over the age of 21.  Congress has limited the number of visas available for these relatives and each category has a significant backlog.  It is important to work with an experienced immigration attorney to file the necessary paperwork properly and efficiently for your relatives not classified under immediate relatives.

Green Card Processing

Pobjecky and Pobjecky, LLP can assist with Green Cards for immediate family members.  Green Cards are available for both those inside and outside of the United States.  The process is slightly different in both instances.

Outside of the United States, the process is called consular processing and is handled by the Department of State.  The usual Form I-130 must be filed with USCIS and approved before an interview is scheduled at the U.S. consulate in the foreign country.  When a visa is available, your family member will be issued a visa for entry into the United States.

Inside of the United States, in addition to Form I-130 which establishes a “priority date,” Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status must be filed.  Your priority date is considered the date in which your Form I-130 was received in good order including the appropriate fees and a completed application.  Form I-485 can only be filed once your priority date is established and then you would go through the Adjustment of Status process.  Sadly, not all immigrants residing in the United States are eligible to file Form I-485.

There is also the option for concurrent filing, but that is limited to a specific group of immigrants.

There are also Green Card options for people who are not considered immediate relatives, but there are different waiting times depending on the category into which the relative falls.

Start the Immigration Process Today

We are happy to help you with this process in order to bring your family together!  The various forms and numerous steps can be confusing, but we are here to guide you through the immigration process.  We will assist you with every step until all your loved ones are thriving together in the United States of America.

Contact us today to get the immigration process started.


Photo by John Barker / CC BY