Our families are our first introduction into the world, and in many cases, they are the ones who raise and nurture us into adulthood. So it makes sense that many of us want to keep our families close – emotionally and geographically. But if you’re living in the U.S. and your family members are not, you might be struggling to help them join you in the States.
Let’s be honest: immigrating to the United States is rarely an easy task. If you have questions about how to bring your family stateside, you’re far from the only one. Luckily, we’re here to help. Family immigration doesn’t have to be a challenging, stressful experience. Instead, it can be rewarding and exciting when you get to have the reunion you’ve been dreaming of.
How can you make that happen? Good news: the U.S. offers a program for residents to sponsor family members hoping to immigrate to the States. In this article, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of the process commonly known as “Family Petition” so that you can be empowered and in-the-know every step of the way.
If you’ve visited the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) department website lately, you’re probably overwhelmed by professional jargon and legalese. We get it – why is it so hard to find the basic information you need? Well, it doesn’t have to be. Let’s break down what “Family Petition” actually means… in language we can all understand.
Basically, the Family Petition process is used to establish a familial relationship with a foreign national relative who wishes to immigrate to the United States – or in some cases, is already in the United States. In short, you’re confirming that your family member is related to you and that you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the States.
Sounds simple, right? It IS. The Family Petition process doesn’t have to be complex, and success is all about ensuring you understand the rules and regulations associated with filing.
Next up, you’re probably wondering… who can fill this form out? The simple answer is U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents of the United States who are 21 or older. “Lawful permanent residents” (often abbreviated as LPRs) is a mouthful – but it really just means that you are a Green Card holder. So if you have a Green Card or a U.S. passport, you can file a Family Petition.
Before you file, you’ll want to remember that there are a few other names for the form that we’re calling a “Family Petition” in this article. (It would be way too easy to just use one consistent term, right?!) It is officially called Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. So if you see either of those terms, don’t stress! You’re still in the right place.
The Family Petition process comes with some restrictions, but by better understanding who is eligible, you can determine if you and your family member qualify. Not every relative is eligible for sponsorship under the Family Petition, so it’s crucial to know who qualifies (and who doesn’t) before you file.
If you are a citizen of the United States, you’re in luck. You can sponsor a variety of different family members. You can file a Family Petition for your husband or wife, your married or unmarried child (or children), your parents, and your siblings. Basically, anyone in your immediate nuclear family qualifies.
So who’s not on the list? The Family Petition process does not cover extended family members – for example, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc. It also doesn’t cover anyone who has married into the family. For instance, you could sponsor your sister, but you cannot sponsor your sister’s husband but they can be counted on their petition allowing the spouse to join.
Remember that term “LPR,” short for “legal permanent resident”? Well, this section is for you, Green Card holders! The list of relatives that LPRs can sponsor through Family Petition is slightly more limited.
Unlike U.S. citizens, LPRs cannot petition for their parents, siblings, or a married child. You can also not petition for extended family members, like cousins, grandparents, aunts, or uncles. Anyone who is not related by blood, including close family friends or godparents, also does not qualify.
Filing a Family Petition isn’t cheap, but it can be an incredibly effective way to bring your foreign national relative into the United States. The fees are up to USCIS, and they currently stand at $535. Now, we might be a little biased, but working with an expert immigration platform like Consulta Immigration is a great way to get the most bang for your buck.
When you file your Family Petition through Consulta, you’ll pay $500 plus the USCIS fee at the time of filing. So what does that cost cover? Consulta will help you file the most effective petition possible, ensure it gets to the right people, and raise your chances of success. We’re here to empower you and make family immigration truly accessible.
At Consulta Immigration, our mission is to redefine family-based immigration. We will work closely with you to support you through the process of filing your Family Petition and helping your foreign national relative successfully gain legal immigration to the United States.
We strive to make family-based immigration efficient, affordable, and accessible. That’s why we’ll never hit you with hidden terms, sneaky fees, or unnecessary legal jargon. You can do this – and we’re here to help. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started today.
Got questions? We’ve got answers. Here are some of the most common concerns that our clients bring us to address. Don’t see your question below? Feel free to reach out to us – we’ll do our best to help you get the Family Petition process off on the right foot.
When it comes to filing a Family Petition, U.S. citizens are eligible to petition for numerous different family member categories. Eligible relationship categories include spouses, children, siblings, and parents. Ineligible categories include cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and other relatives who are even further removed.
The filing process differs depending on where your family member is currently living. If they are already in the U.S., they may apply to become a Green Card holder once a visa number becomes available. This procedure is also called Adjustment of Status. Sounds complicated? Consulta can help.
If your foreign national family member is not living in the U.S., their petition will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC then forwards the petition to the appropriate U.S. consulate when a visa number becomes available. This is called “consular processing,” and the consulate will get in touch with your family member to let them know how to proceed.
The average processing time for a Family Petition is between six and twelve months. The easiest way to speed up family petition processing is simply to submit the form as quickly and as accurately as possible. The USCIS assesses these forms in the order in which they arrive.