Family Based Immigration

Permanent Resident Petitions

One of the most common ways people immigrate is based on a relationship to a permanent resident. If you want to help a relative immigrate, Thomas Esparza can help you start the process by filing a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.

Any permanent resident can petition for the following relatives:

• Husband/wife; and

• Unmarried child(ren), regardless of age.

The law limits eligibility to the relatives listed above. Yyou have to prove your relationship to the person you are filing for. Filing an I-130 relative petition gives the relative a place in line (priority date) for a visa among others waiting to immigrate based on that same kind of relationship. When the place in line is reached, the relative will become eligible to apply for permanent residence, or if abroad, for an immigrant visa.

For example: You file an I-130 petition for your husband or wife. When approved, your petition gives him or her a place in the line of people from the same country who are also spouse’s of permanent residents. When your spouse’s place in line is reached and he/she applies to immigrate, along with his or her unmarried children under 21 as dependents. There is no visa category for the married child of a permanent resident. A petition for an unmarried child will normally be automatically revoked if he/she gets married.

That means that you do not absolutely need to file a separate petition for each child. But, if the child marries or turns 21 before they immigrate, they will no longer be eligible as a dependent. So Thomas Esparza recommends you consider filing separate petitions for each child. A separate petition keeps the child’s place in line among sons and daughters of permanent residents waiting to immigrate.

The length of the line–and thus, the wait before your relative can actually apply to immigrate–varies by relationship and country. For most relatives, the combination of high demand and the limits set by law on how many people can immigrate each year means that they may have to wait several years behind those with petitions that were filed before theirs.