Immigration Through a Family Member

US Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents are eligible to sponsor certain relatives for Lawful Permanent Resident status.  US Citizens may sponsor spouses, children, parents, siblings, and fiancees.   Lawful Permanent Residents may sponsor spouses and unmarried children.

US Citizens (USC) may sponsor:

  • Spouses, unmarried children under 21, & parents:  These cases are much faster than other family-based categories because there is no limit on the number of these relatives who can become Lawful Permanent Residents each year.
  • Unmarried children 21 and older:  Long wait time, due to yearly numerical limit.    This category includes the beneficiary’s children who are unmarried and under the age of 21.
  • Married children:  Longer wait time, due to yearly numerical limit.   This category includes the beneficiary’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21.
  • Siblings:  The longest wait time, due to yearly numerical limit.   This category includes the beneficiary’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21.
  • Fiancee:  USCs can sponsor their foreign fiancee through the K Visa process.  This category includes the fiancee’s unmarried children under the age of 21.

Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) may sponsor:

  • Spouses & Unmarried children under 21: Long wait time, due to yearly numerical limit.    This category includes the beneficiary’s children who are unmarried and under the age of 21.
  • Unmarried Children 21 and older: Longer wait time, due to yearly numerical limit.

For most of the categories above, there is a long line of beneficiaries waiting forPermanent Resident Status because of yearly numerical limits that have been set by law.  The USC/LPR petitioner establishes the beneficiary relative’s place in line (orpriority date) when Form I-130, Petition for Immediate Relative, is filed.

After the petition is filed and the beneficiary has waited the required period to reach the front of the line, he or she is not guaranteed LPR status.  Whether or not the beneficiaryrelative actually obtains LPR status depends on many factors:  Did the USC or LPRprepare the petition correctly and submit the required supporting documents?  Is the relationship between the petitioner and beneficiary bona fide?  Is the beneficiary“admissible” to the United States (re: previous immigration violations, criminal issues, etc.)?

As mentioned above, spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents of US Citizens are not subject to yearly numerical limits.  However, from time to time government backlogs and other issues can cause frustrating delays with these types of cases as well.

A large part of our immigration practice involves family-based immigration.   If you are interested in sponsoring a family member or applying for permanent resident status through a family member, please contact us.  We can guide you through the process!