Relatives of Legal Immigrants Who Can Immigrate To The United States

Legal Immigrants  and Their Relatives

Legal Immigrants and Their Relatives

Immigration to the United States is basically a complex demographic occurrence because there is no other country in the world that so many people want to settle on other than this country. For a lot of them, immigrating to this rich nation can be their lifelong dream. On the other hand, the U.S. also has strict immigration policies considering the past events concerning illegal immigration have not only affected the American labor system but also the country and its people’s security.

On the other hand, the United State’s immigration department is really putting its effort to prevent further illegal immigrants from coming in and while doing this, the immigration department has also put limits on the number of people that can be allowed to enter the country. Nevertheless, there are certain people that can be classified to have the most potential to be admitted as legal immigrants to the United States. These are primarily the relatives of U.S. citizens and holders of permanent residence who are immigrants themselves.

Who Can File Visa Petitions for Relatives?

Only the immigrants turned U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. can file visa petitions for their foreign relatives. However, by relatives, it means these are the immediate relatives of the petitioners like their parents, children and siblings and also their spouses born in other countries and/or living in other countries. Among these groups, the spouses of U.S. citizens have the most possible chance of getting the American visa.

Note that immigration officials are also aware of marriage between American citizens and foreign citizens because in the past this practice was exploited as many foreign nationals were paying U.S. citizens to marry them just to get their green cards or U.S. citizenship. So to curb this practice, the law advised that the couple must stay married for not less than two years and then the husband and wife must file a joint petition to prove their marriage is still valid and this is only the time that the immigrant can be considered for U.S. citizenship.

In terms of parents and children category, the parents of the U.S. citizens can be petitioned by their U.S. citizen children but the petitioners should be more than 21 years old. For children category, those who are under 21 years of age can be petitioned by their U.S. citizen parents. In order that we get a clear glimpse on these categories, we will it explain this below.

Relatives in Categories that Can Be Petitioned by U.S. Citizens

    • First Preference – Unmarried sons and daughters of the American citizen petitioners that are below 21 years of age. There is quota per year in this category. If this gets filled up, the next year would be the next chance.
    • Second Preference – Wives, husbands and minor children of the petitioners. There could be 5-8 years waiting before one can be approved.
    • Third Preference – Married children of the petitioners. Once the children get married while in home country, they will drop from first preference to third preference. However, the petitioner must be a U.S. citizen and not only having a permanent residence.
    • Fourth Preference – Siblings of the petitioner. The petitioner must be a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old. The waiting period is 12-22 years depending on the country where the siblings were born.

Procedures in Filing for Visa for Relatives

The petitioner who can be a U.S. citizen or with a permanent residence can start by filing a petition for visa for the relative and this must be filed where the petitioner lives which is in the U.S. If the petition is successful, the new immigrant must file for permanent residence as well. So for those immediate relatives such as sons and daughters who are already in the U.S. and are under 21 years of age may apply for permanent residence already while their visa petition for permanent residence is already filed by their petitioners and undergoing processing.

Procedures in Filing for Visa

Procedures in Filing for Visa

However, spouses and unmarried children who are more than 21 years of age and married children are not allowed to file their permanent residence until their visa petition get approved and their priority date become active.

To surmise this, it is needed to say that only the ones mentioned above can file petition or can be petitioned so the grandparents, uncles, aunts, or cousins are not allowed to petition or be petitioned other than by their own immediate relatives.

On the other hand, if you think you can be qualified, there are absolutely other means of getting an immigrant visa other than the relatives’ means. You can try the employment based, the millionaire category if you are rich, or if you are a refugee or in need a political asylum you can also try to apply. But to have a very comprehensive understanding on the immigration law and process and knowing the probability of getting an immigrant visa, why not hire an immigration attorney? If you are living in or near a large city outside the U.S., you can visit the U.S. Embassy or the U.S. Consulate and inquire. You must also do your part by doing some research on how one can qualify to be a legal immigrant to the U.S.