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Family Based Citizen Immigration Petitions

Posted by attorney Thomas Esparza

Family Based Immigration

Citizen Petitions

A common way people immigrate is based on a relationship to a U.S. citizen. Thomas Esparza can help your relative immigrate, by preparing and filing a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative for you.

Any U.S. citizen can file for the following relatives.

  • Husband or wife
  • Children, and sons and daughters

A U.S. citizen who is 21 or older can also file for these relatives:

  • Parents and
  • Brothers and sisters

The law limits citizen petitions to these relatives. Filing a petition gives the relative a place in line (priority date) for a visa with others waiting to immigrate based on that same kind of relationship. When the place in line is reached, the relative can apply to immigrate.

When your relative’s place in line is reached he/she can apply to immigrate, with his or her husband or wife and unmarried children under 21 who can apply as dependents.

Example: You petition your sister. You cannot directly petition her husband and minor children. They can apply with her, when her place in line is reached. On the other hand, a separate petition must be filed for each person who qualifies as your direct relative, including your children.

Example: To sponsor your mother and father, you have to file a separate petition for each. For your brothers and sisters you must file separate petitions for each of them. They will not immigrate at the same time as your parents

Example: You marry a woman with a child. The child will qualify as your stepchild if he/she was unmarried and under 18 when you married the mother. You need to petition for each.

There is no waiting list for a U.S. citizen’s spouse, unmarried children under 21, and parents.

The wait to immigrate varies by relationship and country. For adult sons and daughters, married children and brothers or sisters, high demand and low limits set by Congress means a wait of several years behind people with petitions that were filed before theirs.

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