Family Based Immigration – Who Can You Bring to the United States

Happy Family

Do you live in the United States?

If yes, then you might be wondering how can I bring my relatives here from overseas.

Bringing certain family members to the USA depends on your current status in the United States.

Family based immigration laws are different for US citizens, green card holders, and people with no status at all.

According to US citizenship act of 2021:

US citizens can bring:

– Husband or wife

– Parents

– Children (under 21 years)

Green card holders can bring:

– Husband or wife

– Married children

– Unmarried children

People with no status cannot bring any of their family members.

None of these relative petitions are easy. However, an experienced immigration lawyer can make things easier for you.

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Family based immigration

My name is Yakov Spector, and I’m one of the partners at the law firm of Spektor, Spektor, and Berman, the immigration lawyers.

 Today, I will answer one of the most common questions that our clients ask regarding family based immigration. 

“I live in the United States, can I bring my relatives here from overseas?”

And my first question to you would be this; 

Are you a US citizen, a green card holder, or have no status here at all?

Rules for US Citizens

If you are a US citizen, you can bring your husband or your wife here, your parents and your children, as long as they’re under 21 years old. 

Once your children are older, they’re considered adults and cannot come here that quickly. Adult children have to wait for seven or eight years, and brothers and sisters have to wait for up to 15 years. And the line is even longer for relatives from certain countries, such as Mexico or the Philippines.

Now, what about my aunties, uncles, grandparents, etc.? You might be asking, well, unfortunately, under the current law, they cannot be petitioned for.

Rules for green card holders

Now, if you’re a green card holder, you can also bring some of your family here, but it’s only your wife or your husband and married children, unmarried children, no parents, no siblings, and could take a bit longer for them to come here than for relatives of US citizens. 

So if you’re a green card holder who is eligible to apply for naturalization and become a US citizen, it might definitely make sense to do so you might be able to apply for more of your family members.

Rules for people with no status

And if you have no status at all, you’re generally how it would look, if you have no green card or you’re not a US citizen, you cannot apply for any of your family to come here.

There are exceptions. For example, people who are granted asylum in the United States can petition for their spouses and young children to join them. But they’re not that many of them.

In conclusion, let me just say that none of these relative petitions are easy, so it’s super important to do them correctly.

Otherwise, after many years of waiting and thousands of dollars spent, you may find that you will need to start all over again. The right US citizen and immigration services can help you save time and money.

We will talk about some common mistakes that people make in their applications in our next blog. So, stay tuned and have a great day.

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