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How to sponsor a family member for U.S. citizenship

If you are a United States citizen, you can petition U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to issue citizenship to an immediate relative. The application process varies, depending on the family member or members in question as well as other factors. 

Start the process today by learning more about applications, documents and fees. 

Green Card process for immediate family 

You may petition for permanent residence (Green Card) for your spouse and your children, as well as for your parents and siblings if you are older than 21. To begin this process, you must first submit Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on your family member’s behalf. This document requires evidence of your own U.S. citizenship. 

Then, he or she must submit Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, along with required documents and fees. You must also complete the Affidavit of Support to prove your commitment to provide for your family member when he or she comes to the U.S. 

Fiancé(e) visas 

If your fiancé(e) lives outside the U.S., you can petition for a visa on his or her behalf. You can apply for this document, called a K-1 nonimmigrant visa, if you plan to marry within 90 days of your partner’s arrival in the country. You must also prove that the marriage is valid during the application process. After the marriage, your spouse can apply for a Green Card for permanent residence. Start this process by filing Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e). 

Unlike other immigration categories, immediate family immigration has ongoing visa availability. Ideally, the process limits the amount of time a citizen must spend apart from his or her family members. Providing required documentation and attending scheduled interviews and biometric screening appointments can help expedite the time from your family member’s application to receipt of permanent residents. A Green Card is subject to renewal every 10 years.