Guiding Clients Through the Immigration and Naturalization Processes

Family Based Petitions

Immigration though a Family Member

Certain family relationships are eligible for immigrant sponsorship. A preference system exists based on the categories listed below. Family based petitions are assigned a "priority date" based on the date of receipt by USCIS (formerly "INS").

Family members who are not "immediate relatives" must await the "availability of an immigrant visa number" also called "waiting for the quota" before being eligible to complete the process of obtaining permanent residency ("green card"). However, classifications that qualify as "immediate relatives" (see below) do not have to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available. Instead, visa numbers are immediately available for them and they may proceed through the I-130 petition and green card application process simultaneously if the beneficiary is in the US.


In order for a relative to sponsor you to immigrate to the United States, they must meet the following criteria:

  • They must be a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and be able to provide documentation providing that status.
  • They must prove that they can support you at 125% above the mandated poverty line, by signing an Affidavit of Support or you must get any other person to be a "joint-sponsor".

The relatives who may be sponsored as immigrants vary depending on whether the sponsor is a U.S. Citizen or a lawful permanent resident.
U.S. Citizens may petition for the following relatives to immigrate to the U.S:

  • Husband or wife
  • Step children if parent married step-parent before child's 18th birthday
  • Married or unmarried son or daughter of any age
  • Brother or sister, if the sponsor is at least 21 years old, or
  • Parent, if the sponsor is at least 21 years old.

Lawful permanent residents may petition for the following relatives to immigrate to the U.S.:

    • Husband or wife, or
    • Unmarried son or daughter of any age.

In all cases, the sponsor must be able to provide proof of the relationship. Family applicants may also apply through a job offer or other category at the same time.