Which relatives are eligible for family visas?

Many New Jersey residents have family members in other countries who wish to join them in America. A lot of misinformation exists regarding the ability of immigrants to sponsor family members for visas or residency. The truth is that both these options exist for family members who meet all requirements and follow the steps involved with the process.

Who is eligible?

United States citizens and legal permanent residents of America can petition the government to allow certain relatives into the country. The list of relatives eligible for visas or permanent residence based on family immigration rules include:

  • Spouses
  • Children under the age of 21 and unmarried
  • Married children over the age of 21
  • Parents
  • Siblings

A person’s spouse and any minor children they have may also enjoy entry into the country through the K-3/K-4 visa program. Visas are also eligible to an individual’s fiancé and any children they have under the age of 21.

How long must a relative wait?

Immediate relatives will likely avoid the waiting periods and limitations affecting the statuses of other immigrants. But the process will still take several months to complete.

The application process

The process to allow a family member into the U.S. begins with filling out Form I-130. This document establishes the relationship shared by the petitioner and his or her relative. Form I-485 allows for the I-130 filing and an application for permanent residency to take place simultaneously.

The National Visa Center processes petitions and forwards them to the consulate in the appropriate country. The consulate will then contact the alien relative with instructions for continuing the process.

Immigrating to the United States is an involved process that includes complex regulations that can become difficult for immigrant families to handle alone. An immigration attorney may help someone prevent mistakes that could delay the arrival of a family member into the country.

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