If you are currently living in the United States as a citizen or a lawful permanent resident, you might have family members abroad who wish to come to the country as well. You can petition for certain family members to receive their own permanent resident card, also known as a green card.
There are a few ways to start the immigration process, but having a sponsor in the country can make it easier for many individuals. Being a sponsor means you must prove that you can financially support your immigrant family member, but you also need to understand the rules and restrictions of your situation.
If you are a U.S. citizen
If you are a born or naturalized United States citizen, you can petition for any member of your immediate family to receive a green card. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services outline the filing process you should follow, which includes providing proof of your relationship with the person for whom you are petitioning. As a current U.S. citizen, the family members for whom you can petition include:
If you are a lawful permanent resident
You may also petition for a family member to become a lawful permanent resident even if you are also currently living in the U.S. on a green card. However, there are further restrictions on which family members you may sponsor. As a lawful permanent resident, you can petition for unmarried children and spouses.
Even if you petition for a family member to receive their green card, the process can still be very lengthy. However, your willingness to sponsor an immigrating loved one can make the process much smoother for them overall.