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Which family members can you help enter the United States?

Immigration often starts with a family relationship. If you have loved ones in another country, you may want to help them enter the United States. Your ability to do so depends on two primary factors. The first is your current legal status in the United States. The second is your relationship with them. What options do you have for family-based immigration depending on your current immigration status?

As someone in the country with a visa

If you are in the United States on a visa for work, you may be able to help your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 travel with you. They can apply for visas subordinate to your own that allow them to stay in the United States as long as you do.

As someone who is a permanent resident in the United States

When you obtain your Green Card, you have the right to stay in the United States. You can also help your family join you in the country, possibly including your parents.

Under the family preference visa program, you can help your spouse and children enter the country. Unmarried children under the age of 21 have the strongest rights. However, there are also family preference visas available for unmarried children over the age of 21 and married children as well. They just have lower preference than other, closer family relationships.

As a United States citizen

Whether you are a naturalized or natural-born citizen, you have many options for helping your family members in other countries. Both spouses and fiances can enter the country to be with a United States citizen.

Your parents and children can also potentially apply for visas or Green Cards based on their relationship with you. In fact, you may even be able to help your brothers and sisters enter the country.

Any family members hoping to benefit from your immigration status will have to pass background text and medical examinations just like any other immigration applicant. They will incur costs, and some people have to apply multiple years in a row before they achieve success because of the volume of applicants every year.

Learning more about family-based immigration could help you reconnect with your family.