Immigration: Family Based

Permanent Residence Based on Family Members who are US Citizens or Legal Residents

Overview
A lawful permanent resident is a foreign national who has been granted the privilege of permanently living and working in the United States.

Eligibility
To be eligible to sponsor a relative to immigrate to the United States you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be a citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States and be able to provide documentation proving your status.
  • You must prove that you can support your relative at 125% above the mandated poverty line. Click here to find out more information about meeting this criteria and filing the Affidavit of Support.
  • If you are a lawful permanent resident you may petition for the following      foreign national relatives to immigrate to the United States; however you      must be able to provide proof of the relationships:
    • Husband or wife; or
    • Unmarried son or daughter of any age.
  • If you are a US Citizen you may petition for the following foreign national      relatives to immigrate to the United States; however you must be able to      provide proof of the relationships:
    • Husband or wife;
    • Unmarried child under 21 years old;
    • Unmarried son or daughter over 21;
    • Married son or daughter of any age;
    • Brother or sister, if you are at least 21 years old; or
    • Parent, if you are at least 21 years old.

Preference Categories
The relative you wish to immigrate must obtain an immigrant visa number that is based on the preference category in which they fall.

People who want to become immigrants are classified into categories based on a preference system. The immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, who include parents, spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21, do not have to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available once the visa petition filed for them is approved by the BCIS. An immigrant visa number will be immediately available for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. Click here for information on obtaining an immigrant visa number if you are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen. The relatives in the remaining categories must wait for an immigrant visa number to become available according to the following preferences:

  • First Preference: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. Adult means 21 years of age or older.
  • Second Preference: Spouses of lawful permanent residents, their unmarried children (under twenty-one), and the unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents.
  • Third Preference: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
  • Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens.

Once BCIS receives your visa petition, I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, it will be approved or denied. BCIS will notify the person who filed the visa petition if the visa petition is approved. BCIS will then send the approved visa petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, where it will remain until an immigrant visa number is available. The Center will notify you, the foreign national, when the visa petition is received and again when an immigrant visa number is available.