Sponsor Your Family to US - Family Sponsorship For US Immigration

Family & Sponsorship – United States of America

Family & Sponsorship – United States of America

A lot of people in the U.S. have family members living in other countries, and ask how they should get them here. It’s a myth that if an immigrant settles in the U.S., you can get green cards (permanent residence) for the entire extended family, etc. (Trump White House terms this mechanism “chain migration.”) The reality is both more confined and more nuanced.

Who You Can Help Immigrate

Only whether you are a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident (green card holder) will you apply to introduce family members to the United States (often called “sponsoring” them). Since then, only those family members mentioned in the table below can be brought in. Please click on the links before reading the chart, explaining what “immediate relative” and “relative preference” mean.

Who Can Sponsor Who

Who You Are Immigrants You Can Petition The Immigrant’s Category
U.S. citizen age 21 or older Parents Immediate relative
U.S. citizen

(at least age 18, for financial sponsorship purposes)



Immediate relative


U.S. citizen

(at least age 18, for financial sponsorship purposes)

Minor, unmarried children


Immediate relative


U.S. citizen Married children or adult children Preference relative

(1st or 3rd preference)

U.S. citizen age 21 or older Brothers and sisters Preference relative (4th preference)
U.S. permanent resident Unmarried children Preference relative

(2nd preference — 2A or 2B)

U.S. permanent resident Spouse Preference relative

(2nd preference)


Notice who is not on this list: grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, parents-in-law, and other extended family members.

However, if permitted to immigrate to the United States, the people on the above list will be allowed to bring along their own spouses and children with them, except for the immediate relatives. So it’s real they will help other individuals on the list until someone gets a green card.


However, if the individuals on the aforementioned list are allowed to immigrate to the United States, they must be able to bring in their own wives and children with them, except the immediate family. And it’s true they’ll be helping other people on the list before someone gets a green card.

Family-Based Immigrant Visa Categories

There are two groups of family-based immigrant visa categories: Immediate Relative and Family Preference.

Immediate Relative

These visa types are based on a close family relationship with a United States citizen.

  • IR-1: Spouse of a U.S. Citizen
  • IR-2: Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen
  • IR-3: Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen
  • IR-4: Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen
  • IR-5: Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old

Family Preference

These visa types are for specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some specified relationships with an LPR .

  • Family First Preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children, if any.
  • Family Second Preference (F2): Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of LPRs.
  • Family Third Preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children.
  • Family Fourth Preference (F4): Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age.

There are unlimited visas available in the Immediate Relative group, whereas there are a specific amount of Family Preference visas available annually.

The 4 Steps to Applying for Family-Based Immigration

There are specific steps to follow in order for a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident to successfully sponsor a family member. These are:

  • S. citizen or permanent resident files visa petition
  • USCIS makes a decision on the visa petition
  • Family Preference relatives waits until a visa becomes available
  • Immigrant applies for an immigrant visa or Green Card

Step 1: Filing the Petition

The U.S. To continue the cycle of sponsorship Lawful member of the Permanent Resident family would need to submit a visa petition to the U.S. on USCIS Form I-130, along with accompanying documentation. Department of Citizenship and Nationality (USCIS). The LRP has to prove the relationship with the family is genuine.

Step 2: USCIS Makes a Decision

If USCIS receives the complaint, the officials must consider accepting or rejecting the complaint. When accepted, the case file will be forwarded for further processing to the National Visa Centre. When rejected, the applicant will file a new complaint after deciding what improvements are required to facilitate an permit. Upon approval, USCIS will forward the immigrant’s case file to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing.

Step 3: Preference Relatives Wait for Visa Availability

This step only occurs when the petitioner is in the Family Preference group. Relatives who are not considered “immediate” do not immediately qualify for permanent residence, as there are annual limits on the number of Green Cards that can be approved. The immigrant thus joins a waiting list, and will usually wait at least a year before learning if there is a visa.

Step 4: Immigrant Applies for Visa or Green Card

When the appeal was accepted and a visa was available the applicant must then request a permanent residency application. This is usually done by applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate outside of the U.S., and the immigrant would then apply for the Green Card once in the states. During the ensuing process, called “consular processing”, the immigrant will be required to fill out various forms, provide documents and take part in a medical examination.

Why Legal Help for Family Sponsorship is Important

While the family sponsorship definition sounds clear, there are several variations and specifics to be mindful of. Rather of risking your attempts being disqualified due to missed information on a questionnaire or an unacceptable situation, we suggest working with an experienced counsel who knows how to adequately plan positive applications for family sponsorships.

Why Hire Us to Assist Your Family Sponsorship Case?

Since there is a small number of visas available under the category Family Preference, it is important to get the application correct the first time. Even though there are unlimited visas available for immediate relatives, proper preparation of an application is needed. We’ve helped thousands of people get U.S. permanent residence successfully through family-based petitions and we can help you too!

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