If you have a relative who is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (a foreign national who has the privilege of permanently living and working in this country) and you wish to become a lawful permanent resident based on this family relationship, your U.S. relative may sponsor you as an intended immigrant.

Your relative will have to prove that he or she meets the legally required income level or has enough assets to support you when you come to the U.S. In addition, you and your sponsor must take certain steps required by law in order to complete the process.

For family-based immigration, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services must approve an immigrant visa, called an I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. The family relationship between the intended immigrant and his or her sponsor must be one recognized by U.S. immigration law. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and cousins cannot sponsor a relative for immigration under these laws.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, two groups of family-based immigrant visa categories exist.
  • Immediate relative and family preference visas are unlimited each fiscal year. These visas are based on a close family relationship with a U.S. citizen and include spouses, immediate child under 21 years of age, orphan adopted abroad by a US citizen, orphan to be adopted in the United States by a US citizen and parent of a US citizen who is older than 21 years of age.
  • Family preference immigrant visas are limited each fiscal year. These visas are for certain more distant family relationships with a US citizen or some specified relationships with a lawful permanent resident, such as unmarried sons and daughters and their minor children of US citizens, married sons and daughters and their spouses and minor children of US Citizens, brothers and sisters of US citizens and their spouses and minor children, and spouses, minor children, and unmarried children under the age of 21 years of lawful permanent residents.

Any United States sponsors that are petitioning for their siblings or parents to come join them in the U.S. must at least be 21 years of age. For all other requests regarding other family members, there is no minimum age that the sponsor must be, however, in order to sign the Affidavit of Support, Form I-864 or I-864-EZ required for a relative or spouse to come to the U.S., the individual must be 18 years old.

The process to get a family based immigration visa can be a long and complicated process with many bumps along the way. We can assist you in achieving your immigration goals as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Contact us to discuss your situation and what option will best fit your situation. We take great pride and care in providing highly quality affordable legal services. Our attorneys provide a free legal consultation to discuss your needs and what options are available to you.