Is My Family Member Eligible for Immigration?


If you are a United States citizen with foreign relatives then you might have a vested interest in bringing family members over and helping them obtain Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status. Yet it is not possible to get a green card for every member of your family.

Green cards are typically available to “immediate” relatives. While there are some exceptions, it’s important to keep this guideline in mind when attempting to obtain immigration benefits for your relatives.

Family Members Who Are Eligible

Immediate relatives are defined as your spouse, your child if your child is under the age of 21, your parents, your step children, your step-parents if the marriage creating this relationship took place before the child’s 18th birthday, and parents and children who are related by adoption if the adoption took place before the child reached the age of 16. 

Your fiancée is close to being green-card eligible but will typically need a K-1 fiancée visa first. These visas are for a fiancée who intends to marry you within the United States. 

Family Members Who Are Not Eligible

Typically, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews are not eligible for family-based immigration. These relationships simply are not considered close enough to allow for family-based immigration. 

What is a “Preference” Relative? 

There are unlimited green cards available for immediate relatives. There are also some relatives who are eligible for a family-based immigration benefit but who may have to wait for some time due to limitations on the numbers of visas that may be issued to preference relatives.

These are unmarried children of US citizens, regardless of age, spouses of green card holders and unmarried children of green card holders under the age of 21, or unmarried sons and daughters of green card holders over the age of 21. 

US citizens with married adult children can also sometimes sponsor their children, though these children are low in the preference order. In addition, sisters and brothers of US Citizens can sometimes come over as a fourth-priority preference relative.

How to Get Started

The sponsoring relative will need to file a Form I-130, the Petition for an Alien Relative. You will need to provide evidence of your own status within the United States, either as a US Citizen or as a green card holder. You will also have to provide evidence of your relationship with the person you are petitioning for.

It is very difficult to fix mistakes once they have occurred. If you want to give your family member the best chance of success your best bet is to work with a qualified immigration attorney from Day 1. Contact Hykel Law to get started today. 

See also:

5 Steps to a Smoother Immigration Process

7 Ways to Get a Green Card

Can An Extramarital Affair Disqualify You for a Green Card?

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