The United States of America is a country of immigrants, and many people come to the US to reunite with their family members who already reside here. If you are a US citizen or a legal permanent resident (LPR) who wishes to bring your family members to the US, you can do so through a family petition.
A family petition is a process that allows US citizens and LPRs to sponsor their immediate family members for immigration to the US. Immediate family members include spouses, children, and parents of US citizens, while LPRs can only sponsor their spouses and unmarried children.
If you are planning to sponsor a family member for immigration, this step-by-step guide will help you understand the process and requirements.
Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility
Before you can sponsor a family member, you must first determine your eligibility. US citizens and LPRs can sponsor their immediate family members for immigration. However, you must also meet other eligibility requirements, such as being at least 18 years old and having a qualifying relationship with your family member.
Step 2: File the Petition
Once you have determined your eligibility, you can file the family petition. The petition must be filed with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You will need to complete Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and submit it along with the required supporting documents and fees.
The supporting documents may include evidence of your US citizenship or LPR status, proof of your relationship with your family member, and any other relevant documents. You will also need to pay the filing fee, which varies depending on your situation.
Step 3: Wait for Processing
After you have filed the family petition, USCIS will process your application. The processing time varies depending on several factors, such as the USCIS workload and the complexity of your case. You can check the USCIS website for estimated processing times for Form I-130.
During the processing time, USCIS may request additional information or evidence to support your petition. You must respond to these requests promptly to avoid any delays in processing your application.
Step 4: Wait for a Decision
Once USCIS has processed your family petition, you will receive a decision. If your petition is approved, USCIS will forward it to the National Visa Center (official website) for further processing. If your petition is denied, USCIS will provide you with the reasons for the denial.
Step 5: Complete Further Processing
If your family petition is approved, the NVC will provide you with further instructions on how to complete the visa processing. You will need to submit additional forms and supporting documents, such as the DS-260, Immigrant Visa Electronic Application, and the Affidavit of Support.
The Affidavit of Support is a document in which you pledge to financially support your family member once they arrive in the US. You must demonstrate that you have enough income or assets to support your family member and that you will not rely on the US government for financial assistance.
Step 6: Attend the Interview
Once you have completed the necessary processing, your family member will be scheduled for an interview at the US embassy or consulate in their home country. During the interview, a consular officer will determine whether your family member is eligible for an immigrant visa.
Your family member will need to provide additional supporting documents, such as their birth certificate and police clearance certificates. The consular officer may also ask questions about their relationship with you and their intentions for coming to the US.
Step 7: Receive the Visa
If your family member is approved for an immigrant visa, they will receive a visa in their passport. They can then travel to the US and apply for admission at the port of entry Step 8: Apply for Permanent Residence
Once your family member arrives in the US, they will need to apply for permanent residence, also known as a green card. If your family member entered the US with an immigrant visa, they will receive a green card in the mail within a few weeks of their arrival.
If your family member entered the US on a non-immigrant visa, they will need to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with USCIS to adjust their status to that of a permanent resident. They will also need to attend a biometrics appointment and possibly an interview.
Step 9: Enjoy Your Family Time
After your family member has obtained their green card, they can live and work in the US permanently. You can enjoy your time together and create new memories as a family.
Contact Us for Help
The family petition process can be complex and time-consuming, but it is an important way for US citizens and LPRs to bring their family members to the US. By following this step-by-step guide, you can understand the process and requirements for sponsoring a family member for immigration. It is important to contact New Frontier Immigration Law (here) if you have any questions or concerns about the family petition process.
Last Updated: April 24, 2023