If you’re a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, and you’d like a family member in another country to immigrate here to join you, you must first file a petition for alien relative, known as an I-130 form. This form enables you to claim eligible relatives; once it is filed and approved, your family members will be able to seek an immigrant visa and make their move to the U.S. Not sure how to petition a relative for an immigrant visa? Follow our helpful guide below.
How to Petition a Relative for an Immigrant Visa
Petitioning a relative is the first step in your family member’s immigration to the United States. This petition is filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) division of the Department of Homeland Security, and essentially establishes you as the sponsor of your relative. If you’re petitioning on behalf of a sibling or parent in another country, you must be at least 21 years old. For other types of relatives, including spouses, there is no minimum age requirement. As a sponsor, you also must have a primary residence in the U.S.
The first step in petitioning a relative is to fill out the I-130 form, which can be found on the USCIS website. After it has been completed, you will need to remit the $420 filing fee. The USCIS will then approve the petition and send it on to the National Visa Center, where it will be assigned an official case number. Then your relative will be sent the appropriate application forms, and they will need to work with their local U.S. Consulate office to begin the Visa application process.
Every Case is Different
Unfortunately, just because you’ve filed the petition doesn’t mean your family member will be able to enter the country anytime soon. The process for acquiring a visa varies greatly from case to case; one of the biggest factors that can affect the speed and efficiency of receiving a visa is the person’s relation to you.
Relatives are put into certain categories based on how they are related to the U.S. resident submitting the petition. Unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens are considered a first-preference immigrant, spouses and minor children are second-preference, married adult children are third-preference, and siblings are considered fourth-preference. Only a set number of individuals can be granted immigrant status in each preference category a year. Thus, your relative’s wait time could vary greatly depending on the preference category they fall into.
For minor children or spouses, the wait time is typically about four years. For children who are over the age of 21 (and unmarried) the wait is usually seven. Siblings may have to wait as long as 11 years before their visa is approved, and married adult children on average experience a 10-year wait.
Still not quite sure how to petition a relative for an immigrant visa or need advice on what steps to take next? We can help. The Jeff Davis Law Firm has expertise in all aspects of immigration law. Whether it’s assisting you in filing and submitting your initial petition or guiding you through the ins and outs of the immigration process itself, we can help with all of your family’s immigration needs.
Additionally, our team speaks Spanish fluently. Call us at 800-770-0127 to speak to an attorney at the Davis Law Firm and begin learning how to petition a relative for an immigration visa today.