As a permanent resident of the United States, you may help a relative become a lawful permanent resident based on your status. To do so, you will need to sponsor your relative and be able to prove that you have enough income or assets to support your relative(s) when they come to the United States.
We begin the process by providing you with a questionnaire and a list of documents that will be required by the government to show you are related.
Which relatives may I petition for?
A permanent resident of the United States can file a petition for the following relatives:
- Husband or wife; and
- Unmarried child(ren), regardless of age.
What does the petition do for my relative?
Filing an I-130 relative petition and proving a qualifying relationship gives your relative a place in line for a visa number among others waiting to immigrate ased on that same kind of relationship from the same country or region. When your relative reaches the head of the line, he or she may be eligible to immigrate.
Your relative’s place in line will be based on the date you file your petition, the type of relationship you have with them, and the country they are a citizen of. Therefore, there is an advantage to filing as soon as possible. While there is no waiting line for most immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, sons and daughters over 21 years old will have a waiting time. So if you naturalize while your relatives are waiting for visas, they may be able to immigrate sooner.
What about my relative’s family?
In most cases, when your spouse’s place in line is reached, his or her unmarried children under 21 years old can follow to join the relative on the same visa petition. However, if an unmarried child turns 21 years old before reaching the “front of the line,” you will need to file a new separate petition for each child included on the original petition.
What if my unmarried child marries?
The government will automatically revoke a petition for an unmarried child if he or she marries, since there is no visa category for a married son or daughter of a permanent resident. However, if you become a U.S. citizen before your child marries, you can continue the immigration process by filing a new I-130 visa petition for your child. Just remember this will start the process all over again.
After I file, how long will it take before my relative can immigrate?
For most relatives, the combination of high demand and the limits set by law on how many people can immigrate each year means that they may have to wait several years. When your relative reaches the front of the line, our office will contact both you and your relative, to begin the next phase of the processing. If you are interested in current wait times, see “Visa Bulletins” on the State Department’s website at www.travel.state.gov/visa.
Can my relative wait in the United States until he or she can become a permanent resident?
Only if your relative has another visa that is valid while they are waiting. Your relative’s approved petition gives your
relative a place in line among those waiting to immigrate. It does not give permission for your relative to live or work in the United States while he or she is waiting to apply for permanent residence. If he or she enters or stays without legal status, it will affect his or her eligibility to become a permanent resident upon reaching his or her place in line for issuance of a visa.
Does filing a relative petition commit me to anything?
Yes. Under the law, each person who immigrates based on a relative’s petition must have a financial sponsor. If you choose to sponsor your relative’s immigration by filing a relative petition, when the time comes for your relative to immigrate, you must agree to be his or her financial sponsor. If you do not meet the financial qualifications, then other individuals will need to make this commitment.
Immigration is a very specialized area of law; so, be sure your attorney focuses his or her practice on immigration and getting green cards. We focus our practice on immigration law and you can reach us at 513-793-6555 or Thomasjr@geygan.com. We will gently walk you through the process and aggressively fight for your legal rights.