You miss your family and have long hoped for a reunion. It has been more than two years since you have seen them.
But this was the initial plan set in place when you arrived in the U.S. two years ago. Become a legal permanent resident and eventually sponsor your family members to join you in the U.S. In time, they, too, may secure that green card.
Limited number of such visas issued
When it comes to family-based immigration visas, you must understand that only a select few have the ability to sponsor someone to come to the U.S. And the people who may do so must either be U.S. citizens or are like yourself as the holder of a green card, which makes you a legal permanent resident.
But this just marks the first step. As a sponsor, you also must understand that the U.S. issues just a limited number of family-based immigrant visas. And it requires patience to secure a green card as it may take several years while the U.S. government performs background and security checks.
The family members you may sponsor
Here is a list of the family members that you may sponsor for a visa:
- Your spouse: The sponsor must be either a U.S. resident or a legal permanent resident.
- Your children: U.S. residents and green card holders may sponsor their unmarried children who are under the age of 21 as well as their unmarried sons and daughters who are 21 or older. In addition, only U.S. citizens may sponsor married sons and daughters of any age. (Your son’s or daughter’s spouse and children also may be part of this petition.)
- Your parents: Only U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old may petition to have their parents live in the U.S. as green card holders. (You also may petition to have your stepparent and adoptive parent.)
- Your siblings: Only U.S. citizens who are at least 21 may sponsor their siblings to come to the U.S.
- Your stepchildren: U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents may sponsor their stepchildren as long as the stepparent married the child’s birth parent before the child turned 18 years old.
- Your fiancé or fiancée:S. citizens are eligible to bring their fiancé(e) to the U.S. on a special visa as long as the two of you intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e) admittance to the U.S. on a K-1 non-immigrant visa. (The child of your fiancé(e) may be eligible to come to the U.S. on a K-2 non-immigrant visa. That child, though, must be under the age of 21.)
Understand that these actions may take time. But every step is worth it in seeing your family again.
An attorney may help
You have come this far and now you are prepared to reunite with your family. At the same time, your efforts will help certain family members secure a visa and legal residency. This represents an opportune time to retain an experienced legal advocate.