As a United States citizen or a permanent resident, you can sponsor a relative to the U.S., enabling them to immigrate to the country and get a green card. One of the key factors to consider if you intend to do this is your relationship with them.
It is important because certain family members are given priority for immigration, while others may have to wait longer or may not be eligible at all. Here is what you need to know about family-based immigration visas.
There are two types of family-based immigrant visas
You can sponsor a relative on an Immediate Relative Immigration Visa or a Family Preference Immigration Visa. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) defines immediate relatives as the spouse, parent or unmarried child (under the age of 21) of a U.S. citizen.
Immediate relatives are given the highest priority for immigration and do not have to wait for a visa to become available since the number of immigrants in this category is not limited.
Other family members may also be eligible for immigration to the United States under a Family Preference Immigration Visa. However, they will generally have to wait longer for a visa to become available. The USCIS allows U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to sponsor certain family members for immigration, including:
- Married or unmarried sons and daughters (above 21 years) of U.S. citizens and their children
- Spouses, minor children and unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents
- Brothers and sisters (if the U.S. citizen sponsor is over the age of 21)
It is important to note that uncles, aunts, cousins, in-laws and grandparents cannot sponsor a relative for immigration.
Get the necessary help navigating the process
Sponsoring a relative for immigration can be a complex process with stringent requirements. Additionally, there may be caps on the number of visas available for certain family members, which can create longer wait times. Therefore, it is advisable to seek experienced guidance to help you through it all and ensure you do everything right.