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Relatives of U.S. citizens or permanent residents may take advantage of  U. S. family-based immigration which allows them to obtain a Green Card in order to travel to and live in the U.S. legally.

If you want to bring your family to the U.S. our immigration lawyers in New Jersey can assist you with the whole process. We have over a decade of experience in reuniting families.  

Call today for a private consultation; our attorneys Carolina Curbelo and Sharon A. Lieberman are ready to help you.  

We help you with U. S. family-based immigration petitions in 2024

At Curbelo Law we have handled all types of U.S. family-based petitions. We encourage you to browse through our blog, we have several posts discussing family based immigration matters. These are meant to be informative however they do not substitute for legal advice. In order to obtain qualified assistance contact us directly by email or phone. 

Read those carefully to obtain extensive information and remember that to assist you in your particular scenario you must contact us directly by email or phone. As Latino immigrants and with over 10 years of experience in these matters, we are ready to give you the legal support you need.

u. s. citizen petition for parents

U. S. citizen petition to bring parents

If you are an American citizen, we will tell you everything you need to know to bring your parents to the United States.

how do i bring my foreign spouse to the U. S.

Bringing your foreign spouse to the U. S.

In this blog you will find specific information for American citizens or legal permanent residents who want to bring their spouse to the United States.

how to bring my son to U. S.

How do I bring my son to the U. S.

If you are a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident who wants to bring your child or children to the U.S., please read here.

can a u. s. citizen sponsor a sibling

can a u. s. citizen sponsor a sibling

Frequently asked questions about sponsoring a sibling for U.S. citizenship.

Income Table To Sponsor A Family Member 2024

Next, we will show you the income necessary to sponsor a family member to the U. S:

For The 48 Contiguous United States

Sponsor’s household size100% of HHS poverty guidelines125% of HHS poverty guidelines
Applies only to U. S. military sponsors petitioning for their spouse or childrenFor other sponsors
2$20,440$25,550
3$25,820$32,275
4$31,200$39,000
5$36,580$45,725
6$41,960$52,450
7$47,960$59,175
8$52,720$65,900
$5,380 for each additional individual.$6,725 for each additional individual.

This also applies to Guam, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Hawaii

Sponsor’s household size100% of HHS poverty guidelines125% of HHS poverty guidelines
Applies only to U. S. military sponsors petitioning for their spouse or childrenFor other sponsors
2$23,500$29,375
3$29,690$37,113
4$35,880$44,850
5$42,070$52,588
6$48,260$60,325
7$54,450$68,063
8$60,640$75,800
$6,190 for each additional individual.$7,738 for each additional individual.

Alaska

Sponsor’s household size100% of HHS poverty guidelines125% of HHS poverty guidelines
Applies only to U. S. military sponsors petitioning for their spouse or childrenFor other sponsors
2$25,540$31,925
3$32,270$40,338
4$39,000$48,750
5$45,730$57,163
6$52,460$65,575
7$59,190$73,988
8$65,920$82,400
$6,730 for each additional individual.$8,413 for each additional individual.

You might also be interested in checking our table and requirements for the humanitarian parole program.

How to bring a family member to the United States?

Depending on your immigration status, you may be able to sponsor a relative who is a foreign citizen for U.S. citizenship. In order to bring a relative to the United States, everything will depend on the immigration status of the applicant. As a result, this will allow you to bring your fiancé(e), adopted children, or future family members into the country.

As a general rule, to bring parents, siblings, spouses or fiance(e)s, or children to the U.S.  you will need to be a:

  • United States citizen.; or
  • Permanent resident (possess a Green Card); or
  • Refugee or asylum beneficiary for at least 2 years.

If you or any of your family members belong to the United States Armed Forces, you may opt for “military citizenship”. Additionally, you may even qualify for exclusive immigration programs, such as Military Parole in Place.

Immediate family members such as spouses, unmarried children under 21 years of age, and parents of the citizen fall into the  top priority category, and there is no limit to the number of these immigrant visas allowed each year. 

However non-immediate family members, such as married children, children over 21 years of age or siblings of the citizen/permanent resident, are in a lower preference category and a limited number of such immigrant visas are available each year. For this reason, it is important you speak to qualified legal counsel in order to avoid delays or costly mistakes. 

For a better understanding of U. S. family-based immigration please visit our blog on how to obtain U. S. citizenship.

Can An American Citizen Petition To Bring A Relative?

An American citizen can petition to bring a family member into the U.S. legally so that they may begin the process of  receiving a Green Card, a K-1 fiancé(e) visa, a K-3 visa or a K-4 visa (depending on their family relationship).

Applicants may petition to bring their family members to come to the United States and obtain immigration relief, among which we find the following:

A Green Card for family members of an American citizen

A family member of an American citizen may receive a Green Card as an immigration benefit. The following family members of a U.S. citizen who can obtain a Green Card are:

  • Spouses
  • Unmarried children under 21 years of age
  • Married children over 21 years of age
  • Parents (if the American citizen is over 21 years old)
  • Siblings (if the American citizen is over 21 years old)

For this process, you will need to submit the following forms:

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
  • Form I-864, Affidavit of Financial Sponsorship.
  • Form I-485, Application for Registration of Permanent Residence or Adjustment of Status

A Fiance Visa

The K-1 fianc(é)e visa allows an American citizen to bring the fianc(é)e of the American citizen to the US. With this visa, you may petition for:

  • A fianc(é)e who is outside the U.S.
  • The fianc(é)e children, under 21 years of age, who are outside the U.S.

The form for this request is Form I-129F, Request for an Alien Fianc(é)e. 

A K-3 or K-4 Nonimmigrant Visa

This type of visa will be available for:

  • Spouses outside the U.S.
  • Spouse’s children, under 21 years of age, outside the U.S.

To process the application, the following documents will be required:

  • Form I-130.
  • Form I-129F.

Request a Green Card for a family member

To request a Green Card for a family member, the U.S. citizen must begin by submitting Form I-130 to USCIS. This form will demonstrate the relationship between the petitioner and the family member.

In some cases, Form I-130 may be filed in conjunction with Form I-485.

bring your family to the united states

Relatives you can petition for as an American citizen

American citizens may request the following family members:

Immediate family members

The immediate family members of an American citizen are:

  • Spouses.
  • Unmarried children under 21 years of age.
  • Parents over 21 years of age.

Likewise, citizens will be able to request these immediate family members without the need to wait for a visa number or an appointment to do so.

Other Family

You may request other relatives who are not immediate relatives, as long as they are assigned to a preferential category, these categories are:

  • First preference: Adult child over 21 years of age and single
  • Second Preference (2A): Spouse of a permanent resident and their children under 21 years of age
  • Second Preference (2B): Single adult child of a permanent resident
  • Third Preference: Married child of any age
  • Fourth Preference: Adult sibling

Can A Permanent Resident Petition To Bring A Relative?

In regards to U. S. family-based immigration, legal permanent residents in the United States can apply for some of their relatives, which include:

  • Spouses
  • Unmarried children under 21 years of age
  • Unmarried children of any other age

Requirements To Petition A Relative If You Are A Permanent Resident 

To apply for a family member, the legal permanent resident must submit the following:

  • Form I-130
  • Proof of your status as a legal permanent resident
  • Evidence proving the relationship with your petitioned relative, this may be:
    • Birth certificate
    • Marriage certificate
    • Divorce certificate
    • Or similar documents
  • A legal name change document if the petitioner or the family member has changed their name
family reunification in the united states

When a permanent resident applies for a family member, the application must be submitted under a preferential category. These are:

  • First preference: Unmarried sons or daughters over 21 years of age of a U. S. citizen
  • Second Preference (2A): The spouse of a lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder) and unmarried children under 21 years of age 
  • Second preference (2B): The unmarried sons and daughters of a lawful permanent resident
  • Third preference: The married sons or daughters of an American citizen  regardless of age.
  • Fourth Preference: For the adult brother or sister of an American citizen

The preferential category visa will only be available upon the priority date, which will be the date you filed Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.

After Submitting The Application

  • If your family member is in the U.S. legally, you can apply for an Adjustment of Status for permanent residence or a Green Card as soon as a visa number is available and you submit Form I-485.
  • If your family member is outside the United States, their request will be sent to the NVC, which will send this information to the U. S. consulate or embassy in their country of residence. The family member will have to go through the consular process in order to process this application.
  • Depending on the preferential category, the family member will have to wait until they receive an immigrant visa number when the petition is filed.

In our blog dedicated to the requirements to enter the United States legally, you can discover different legal paths to enter the country.

Form I-130 for Petition for Relatives to the U.S.

Form I-130 is the first step that you must submit to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to petition to bring your relative to the United States and for your relative to obtain a Green Card.

  • You may find the steps you need to follow in order to get a Green Card here.  However, submitting it or receiving an approval does not provide the family member with immigration status or benefits.
  • USCIS generally approves the I-130 form if the petitioner adequately demonstrates the relationship between them and the family member. Once the petition is approved, the latter can become a legal permanent resident.
  • If the family member is in the United States and a visa is available, they may be eligible for a Green Card through adjustment of status.

Some things to take into account

  • Depending on the family relationship, some family members will have to wait to apply until a visa number is available.
  • Immediate family members will always have a visa number available so they will not have to wait.
  • If the family member is not eligible to obtain a Green Card or lives outside the U.S., they can apply for a visa with the Department of State (DOS) at a consulate or embassy in the foreign country.

Normally requests will be processed in the order of arrival. In addition, applicants will be able to see all this reflected in the Visa Bulletin.

Eligible for Form I-130

American citizens can file a Form I-130 for:

  • Spouses
  • Children
  • Siblings
  • Close relatives

Lawful permanent residents may file Form I-130 for:

  • Spouses
  • Unmarried children

Not Eligible for Form I-130

Not all family members are eligible for this form. Among those not eligible to submit it are:  

  • Adopted children 16 years of age or older
  • A biological relative who obtained a Green Card or U.S. citizenship through adoption.
  • Stepparent or stepson 18 years of age or older
  • Spouse who was not physically present at the marriage
  • Spouse who obtained a Green Card through marriage to an American citizen or Permanent Resident
  • A spouse who was facing removal proceedings in immigration court
  • Any family member who USCIS determines has entered into the marriage only for purposes of obtaining an immigration benefit in the U.S.  
  • Grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, cousins, in-laws or nephews
marriage based green card interview questions

You must demonstrate to USCIS that you are in a bona fide marriage, which is a valid committed marriage. See our blog post on marriage-based Green Card interview questions. The following article is also helpful: “Can an undocumented immigrant get married in the United States?”. This will provide you with extensive knowledge about the legal processes in the U.S. regarding marriage.

Asylum, Parole, or Humanitarian Refugee Requests for Relatives of A Refugee or Asylum Holder.

Immigrants who are within the United States under refugee status in the last 2 years or were granted asylum status may apply for certain family members under refugee or asylum status.

You can learn more about the asylum process in the United States or the asylum clock in our dedicated blog posts.

In other words, refugee or asylum immigrants may apply for their:

  1. Spouse 
  2. Unmarried children under 21 years of age

Eligibility Requirements

The requirements to be eligible for this type of petition are:

  • If you are the petitioner, you must be an asylee or refugee.
    • You should not have had this status from another relative but received it directly.
  • You entered the U.S. as a refugee or asylee in the last 2 years.
  • You remain under the status of asylee, refugee or have become a lawful permanent resident (you are the holder of a Green Card).
  • The family relationship you had prior to your move to the US as an asylee or refugee.

Additionally, you must file Form I-730, Petition for Relatives of Refugees and Asylees at no cost.

Are you a victim of domestic abuse  and are trying to apply for asylum based on domestic violence? Find out more information on this topic in our article.

Frequently Asked Questions About U. S. Family-Based Immigration

relatives of united states soldiers

How much does it cost to file a family petition?

The price of filing a family petition with Form I-130 is around  $535. This fee can be paid by money order, cashier’s check, or personal check, if you submit it at a USCIS location.

Likewise, it can be paid with a credit card with the Form G-1450, authorization of credit card transactions. If you pay with checks, you can do so payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

How long does a family petition take?

The time frame to process an I-130 petition depends on the relationship you and your family have and the ability to demonstrate it in USCIS offices. However, the approximate time it takes can range from 6 to 12 months..

Where do I file an I-130 family petition?

You can send an I-130 petition depending on where you live. USCIS provides a select table of addresses with all the places to file it from.

What additional documents do I need to file a family petition?

Generally, you will need to file an I-130 petition along with additional documents including proof that you are a U. S. citizen such as:

  • Birth certificate (if applicable).
  • U. S. passport.
  • Copy of your Green Card.
  • Proof of divorce (if applicable).
  • Proof of any name change (if applicable).
  • Proof of nationality of your spouse (if applicable).

Can A U. S. Citizen Sponsor A Family Member?

If you are a U.S. citizen, you can sponsor the following family members:

  • Spouse.
  • Unmarried children under 21 years of age.
  • Unmarried child over 21 years of age.
  • Married child of any age.
  • Sibling at least 21 years old.
  • Mother or father over 21 years of age.

Can a Green Card holder sponsor a family member?

If you are already a legal permanent resident; That is, if you are a Green Card holder, you may petition to bring the following relatives:

  • Spouse.
  • Unmarried child under 21 years of age.
  • Unmarried child over 21 years of age.

What happens after I file a petition for a family member?

If you have already filed the petition for relatives and your relative is in the US, you can apply for an adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident and obtain your Green Card.

This will occur after you have a visa number available using Form I-485 and your petition is sent to the NVC.

Can I apply for my same-sex spouse?

Since the mandate of President Barack Obama, his Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) came into force, which allows legally married same-sex couples to receive the same benefits as any other couple.

Likewise, our firm has an experienced New Jersey LGBTQ+ immigration lawyer at your disposal. Therefore, we are willing to help members of the LGBTQ+ community in their immigration matters.

Experienced attorneys in New Jersey for your U. S. family-based immigration petitions

If you are looking for lawyers well-versed in U. S. family-based immigration, we invite you to contact us. At Curbelo Law we have been helping families reunite with their loved ones abroad for over a decade. 

With more than 10 years helping hundreds of families achieve their American dream, our experts will be able to advise you throughout this process. We are aware of helping with all types of requests, including same-gender marriages.

Call today and get a 100% confidential legal consultation that allows us to understand your current situation to live in the US legally.