Petitioning a Family Member for Immigration

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What Is a Family Immigration Petition?

A family immigration petition involves a person located in the United States petitioning (requesting) for a loved one in another country to relocate in the U.S. This is a common method of immigration for many non-citizen aliens. The process is complex and can involve different quotas and waiting periods. These figures depend on the immigration numbers from previous years.

The family immigration visa categories are divided in to several sub-categories. Each of these categories is associated with a preference in terms of wait lists and quotas. Generally speaking, immediate relatives and close members of the family are given preference over more distantly-related persons.

Who Can Petition Relatives?

Family-based immigration petitions are reserved for U.S. Citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders). Thus, a new immigrant who still does not have lawful permanent resident status may not petition family members for immigration into the U.S. The petitioning process involves a number of documents and records that must be completed by both the petitioning person and the relative. This involves papers such as birth certificates, medical records, travel documents, etc.

Are There Any Alternative Immigration Methods?

Besides family-based visas, there are also a number of methods by which a person can immigrate to the United States. These include:

Alternatively, you may be able to assist a loved one by helping them find employment-based visa opportunities. Some of these alternative methods may actually involve less waiting times than family based visas (especially fiancé and marriage visas). However, not all persons may be qualified for such options. You may need to consult with a legal professional for more advice on the available options.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Family Immigration Petition?

Family-based visa applications involve many steps and requirements. They can also take a long time to process, sometimes several years. You may wish to hire a qualified immigration lawyer in your area if you need help with an immigration application. Your attorney can provide you with advice and guidance on the application. Also, if you are facing any immigration issues or disputes, your lawyer can also represent you in court.

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Last Modified: 03-31-2015 01:18 PM PDT

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