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Petitioning for family member immigration in California

Many U.S. citizens have family members that would like to move to the country. The citizen may wonder if it is possible to petition on behalf of their relatives in order for them to get a visa or a green card.

Immigration law provides that citizens may petition on behalf of several different categories of relatives, including children, spouses, brothers, sisters and parents. Depending on the relationship between the two, the petition differs. A citizen may sponsor spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, parents, siblings, and children who are over the age of 21 or married if they are seeking a green card. The citizen will have to complete an Affidavit of Support and a Petition for a Foreign Relative for that individual. An Application to Register Permanent Residence will also be required.

For a fiancé who the U.S. citizen wishes to be able to come to the U.S. in order to get married, the citizen will need to complete a Petition for an Alien Fiancé. The petition can cover both the fiancé and their unmarried children under the age of 21. Relatives who are not immediate family members will be subject to preference categories, which have annual limits.

Family-based immigration helps families stay together. By allowing U.S. citizens to petition on behalf of their relatives, the government recognizes the importance of certain familial relationships. Those who wish to petition on behalf of their relatives may want to speak with an immigration and naturalization law attorney, as the process can be complicated. An attorney may help gather the needed documentation and submit the required forms correctly.

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  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • State Bar of California | California Board of Legal Specialization
  • Avvo
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Irvine Chamber