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Who can sponsor family members for immigration purposes?

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2024 | Family Immigration |

Immigration law allows United States citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to sponsor family members for immigration into the U.S. Eligibility criteria, categories of relatives who can be sponsored and the processes involved vary significantly between these two groups.

U.S. law is structured to encourage family reunification through specific methods and only under certain circumstances. Understanding who can bring specific individuals into the country is critical for anyone considering sponsoring loved ones.

U.S. citizens

U.S. citizens can sponsor more family members than LPRs can. Citizens can sponsor immediate relatives and family preference relatives. Immediate relatives include the sponsor’s spouse and their unmarried children under the age of 21. Citizens who are at least 21 can also sponsor their parents. This category has unlimited visa each year.

Family preference relatives include adult children, whether they’re married or unmarried. This category also includes brothers and sisters. This category only has limited visas, so there are significant waiting periods for these individuals.

Lawful permanent residents (LPRs)

LPRs are more limited in who they can sponsor. They aren’t allowed to sponsor people who fall under the family preference relatives category. An LPR can only sponsor their spouse and unmarried children. LPR-sponsored visas are limited by specific caps each year. Lengthy wait times are possible for these applications to work through the process.

If you are interested in sponsoring a family member, ensuring that you have necessary paperwork filled out fully and accurately is critical. Working with someone familiar with this process and immigration guidelines may benefit anyone going through this process, given its complexities and how much is at stake.


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