Bringing Family Members to the United States

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Bringing Family Members to the United States

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For many immigrants that are United State citizens, bringing family members to live here is an important priority. There are only certain categories of family members that you can petition for to obtain a green card or a special visa.

Family members that can obtain a Green Card

You can petition for the following family members to receive a green card.

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Siblings

For any of these relatives, you will need to file Form 1-130 for each individual. Additionally, you will need to file Form I-864, which is used to prove that you are able to support the relative. If the individual is already in the United States lawfully, you should file Form I-485 to adjust the individual’s status.

Things to consider before petitioning

Before you petition for a family member to become a permanent resident of the United States, there are a few things that you need to consider.

  • Whether the family member has a criminal record here in the United States or in their home country.
  • Whether the family member has had previous immigration violations.
  • Whether the family member has a disease or disorder that might be a public health risk or pose other concerns.

These are factors that will be scrutinized by the United States Citizen and Immigration Services and could warrant a denial of the petition.

Beyond the above mentioned considerations, another thing to ensure is that you, as the petitioner, are able to show that you can maintain the family member and your current household at 125% of the federal poverty guidelines. The purpose of Form I-864 is to show your ability to support.

Finally, it is important to consider whether the family member plans to reside in the United States after receiving a green card. According to immigration laws in the United States, a green card holder must have a permanent residence in the country. If USCIS determines that a green card holder has abandoned his or her residence in the country, then the green card can be revoked. The individual may even be denied entry upon return from an extended trip outside the country. Therefore, it is prudent to establish that the family member you are petitioning for plans on residing in the country.

Other Options

  • You can petition for your fiancé(e) to obtain a fiancé (e) visa. However, if you plan on marrying the individual before he or she enters the United States or if the individual is already residing here lawfully, then you do not need to petition for a fiancé(e) Visa. When you petition for this kind of visa, you need to marry your fiancé(e) within 90 days of him or her entering the country.
  • You may petition for a K-3 non-immigrant visa for your spouse.
  • You may petition for a K-4 non-immigrant visa for the children of your spouse if they are unmarried and under 21 years of age and they are children of a spouse that is a qualified K-3 visa applicant.

Navigating the petition process to bring a family member to the United States may be confusing and complicated. If you need guidance on petitioning or have questions, contact an experienced attorney at Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC.