Leaving your family and loved ones behind to immigrate to the United States is a life-changing decision. Luckily, you may be able to petition for your immediate relatives to receive visas or green cards.

The speed of this process is dependent on your immigration status and whether your family meets the eligibility requirements. If you are a lawful permanent resident and have a green card, the process might take longer. However, if you are a U.S. citizen, your spouse and children will move into a visa preference category. This means your spouse and children could receive their visas much quicker.

What documents are needed for visa petitions?

Before you can petition for your immediate family to receive visas, you must complete the necessary paperwork. The government uses these documents to verify your citizenship status and the relationship between your spouse and children. Some of the required visa documents include:

  • I-130 form with a filing fee
  • Official U.S. birth certificate
  • S. passport
  • Citizenship certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Childrens’ birth certificates

Determining family member eligibility

Your family must also meet specific qualifications to be considered immediate family members. You and your spouse must be legally married in your country of origin. Your children must also be under the age of 21 to legally be considered a “child” for visa purposes. Additionally, your children must not be married. Your children will no longer be eligible if they get married before they receive their visas.

Petitioning for your family to immigrate to the United States can be confusing to manage on your own. There are many forms and countless exceptions to immigration laws. Speaking with an immigration attorney can help you navigate through this process. Your lawyer will understand the complex immigration laws and can answer any questions you have.