Immigration: Family Based
Can I bring my family to join me in the United States?
If you are a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident, you have the ability to petition for certain relatives to obtain a green card to join you in the United States. This process involves two steps: filing the I-130 Petition, which establishes the existence of a familial relationship that will qualify your relative to apply for a green card; and filing the actual green card application, either through adjustment of status, or by obtaining an immigrant visa through a U.S. Consulate overseas.
If you are a U.S. Citizen, and your relative is either your spouse, your parent, or your unmarried child under 21 years old, you may be able to file the I-130 petition and the green card application through USCIS at the same time. If you are a Permanent Resident, or a U.S. Citizen who’s relative does not fall into one of the categories listed above, you will need to file the I-130 petition first, and move forward with the green card application once the I-130 is approved.
What relatives can I petition for with an I-130?
There are three categories of familial relationships that can be established by an I-130 petition:
- Immediate relatives of US Citizens includes the spouse, parents, and unmarried children of U.S. Citizens, and in some cases, step-children and adopted children of U.S. Citizens
- Family members of US Citizens includes the married sons and daughters, sons and daughters who are over 21 years old, and brothers and sisters
- Family members of Permanent Residents the spouse, unmarried children under 21, and unmarried sons and daughters over the age of 21
It is important to note that, for purposes of Immigration, there is a distinction made between the term “children” and the term “sons and daughters.” When USCIS uses the term “children,” they are referring only to unmarried children who are under the age of 21. USCIS uses the term “sons and daughters” to refer to children who are over 21 and children who are married, regardless of their age.
How long does it take to process an I-130 petition?
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to give an accurate timeline for how long it will take USCIS to process an I-130 petition. A lot will depend on the case itself, as well as the number of cases that USCIS is processing at the time you file. USCIS does provide an estimate of their current processing times, which is available at the . While it is difficult to say exactly how long processing will take, the best way to ensure that your case is handled quickly is to make sure that your petition is complete, accurate, and supported by plenty of evidence of your qualifying relationship.