Your Immigration Lawyer
Alice Antonovsky
New York, NY
Immigration Through Family: Your Options in the U.S.

Immigration laws in the United States are designed, in some degree, to reunite families or keep them together. To that end, there are several ways of obtaining legal status in the country with existing immigration through family options. For example, through a sibling, spouse, or another immediate family member.

Foreign nationals must have a relative who is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States file a petition on their behalf. Foreign nationals may get a family-based permanent resident status or a family-based green card via this petition.

 

immigration facts

 

Immigration Through Family If You’re a Permanent Resident

If you’re a permanent resident, you may petition for your immediate relatives who are foreign. The process requires applications to prove their relationship with you and the U.S. family member to complete all the paperwork.

Additionally, relatives of permanent residents are obliged to wait for a visa to be available in order to obtain their own permanent residence. If you’re a green card holder, you may petition for these immediate relatives:

  • Unmarried children under age 21
  • Married children of any age
  • Parents (petitioner must be at least 21 years old)
  • Spouses

Those applicants who want to get family-based permanent residency may be outside the U.S. or may be in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa.

Learn more about the Green Card eligibility criteria

 

Immigration Through Family If You’re a US Citizen

If you’re a citizen, you can file petitions to secure everything from fiancée visas, to K-3/K-4 visas, to a family-based permanent residence, depending on the familial relationship. Luckily, there’s no need for relatives of citizens to wait for visas to be available - unlike relatives of green card holders. Keep in mind that if you’re a U.S. citizen, you may petition for these immediate relatives:

  • Unmarried children under age 21
  • Married children of any age
  • Siblings (petitioner must be at least 21 years old)
  • Parents (petitioner must be at least 21 years old)
  • Spouses

 

immigration through family

 

Reading Between the Lines of Family-Based Immigration

For those family members who are not qualified as immediate relatives, permanent residents and U.S. citizens may use preference categories when petitioning for family-based immigration. Petitioners are requested to wait for visas to become available.

These are the preference categories:

  • Preference 1: adult daughters and sons of full citizens
  • Preference 2A: unmarried children and spouses of green card holders
  • Preference 2B: unmarried adult daughters and sons of green card holders
  • Preference 3: married children of any age of full citizens
  • Preference 4: sisters and brothers of full citizens

 

immigration preference categories

 

Find an Experienced Immigration Attorney

Because the various legal considerations and processes can be so complicated and, most importantly, because family immigration is in constant flux, it’s highly recommendable to find an immigration lawyer.

Here at The Law Offices of Alice Antonovsky, we understand the intricacies of immigration requirements. What is true for immigration law one day may not the next day – only an experienced attorney will be up-to-date with all of the latest regulations and rules.

For further information, please feel free to give us a call at 1.718.924.2896. We look forward to assisting you soon!

Read also: Family Reunited With an Unlawful Presence Waiver