If you are in the United States and have family members in another country, then you may want to bring them here. They will have to go through the proper channels to legally immigrate here to avoid potential legal issues.

According to the U.S. Department of State, there are two types of visas you may use to bring family members into the country. To get the visa, you must sponsor the person, and you must also apply for the right type of visa.

Family preference

A family preference visa is for family members who are not closely related, such as a sibling. There is a limit on the number of these visas the government issues each year, which means even if the government approves the visa application, your family member may not get his or her visa right away. He or she may have to go on a waiting list.

Immediate relative

An immediate relative visa is only for close relatives, including your parent, child or spouse. There is not a limit on the number of this type of visas the government issues per year.

General requirements

To sponsor someone, you need to be a U.S. citizen or have a green card. You also must be at least 21 years old. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you can only apply for a visa for your unmarried child or spouse.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will handle the application process. You will have to go through an interview as well. Your family member will also have requirements he or she must meet as part of the process.