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As a U.S. citizen, how can you help relatives come to the states?

 Posted on June 01, 2022 in family-based immigration

If you are a U.S. citizen who moved here from another country, you may have both close and extended relatives that would like to join you in the states. You might also be planning to marry a non-U.S. citizen and would like him or her to be able to live and work in the country you now call home.

American immigration law is constantly changing. However, preserving family bonds remains a top priority when considering petitions for either visas or green cards.

What are the options for helping family members gain legal residency?

If you already have citizen status, you may be able to sponsor immediate family, extended family members, a current spouse or a future spouse. Options for helping family members gain legal residency include:

  • Requesting a K-1 visa for a fiancé, though the visa may only be valid if you marry within a certain period of his or her admission to the U.S.
  • Petitioning for Green Card status for parents, children or siblings (if you are over 21 years old)
  • Applying for a spousal Green Card if your spouse already lives in the U.S. legally
  • Applying for a K-3 spousal visa if you married your husband/wife outside the U.S.
  • Petitioning for a K-2 or K-4 visa if you want to help stepchildren gain legal immigrant status

What if a family member has been in the country unlawfully?

You may worry that you cannot help a relative with a visa or green card because he or she has already lived in the U.S. unlawfully. However, it may still be possible for you to help your loved one gain lawful status by applying for a special waiver through his or her home country’s consulate.

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