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Is there a minimum age for petitioning for a visa for family?

When a U.S. citizen or permanent resident has a relative who lives in another country, they might be able to petition for a visa for that relative. Now, there are all kinds of rules regarding such petitions. One thing a person may wonder is: are there any age restrictions on who can petition for a relative?

For most types of family visas, there is no such direct restriction in place.

However, there is a practical issue related to family visa petitions where an age limit does come into play. One of the forms a person is generally required to submit when petitioning for a visa for a family member is an Affidavit of Support.In order to sign such a document, a person has to be at least 18.

Also, there are a couple family visa situations in which an age limit is specified for the sponsoring family member. Under U.S. immigration law, to petition for a visa for a parent or a sibling, a U.S. citizen has to be at least 21.

So, a person’s age can, in some instances, impact what immigration options they have regarding family members.

Now, this is not the only way in which age can be a factor in family immigration matters. Sometimes, the age of the family member being sponsored has significant ramifications. For example, when a U.S. citizen is petitioning for a child of theirs who is unmarried, whether or not the child is less than 21 years of age impacts whether the child falls into the category where an unlimited number of visas are available or a category in which there is an annual limit on visas. Those under 21 are in the unlimited category, while those 21 and over are in a limited one.

When a person here in the U.S. who desires a visa for a family member is wondering if their or their family member’s age would have any impacts on the visa petitioning options available to them, they may want to talk the matter over with an attorney skilled in immigration matters.

Source: U.S. Department of State, “U.S. Visas - Family-Based Immigrant Visas,” Accessed Sept. 28, 2016

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