If you are a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident, you are entitled to sponsor certain family members to join you in the United States permanently. Although the U.S. welcomes the family members of its citizens and Green Card holders, both the sponsor and the applicant face significant documentation requirements. Additionally, the applicant must pass a medical examination and personal interview. A Groveland family immigration lawyer could explain these requirements and help you every step of the way.

An experienced immigration attorney from the Bennett Law Center could review your documentation to ensure it is accurate and nothing is missing, and help the applicant prepare for their interview. Having the support of a seasoned professional could make the family immigration process faster and less stressful.

Options for Family Reunification for Citizens

The U.S. restricts the visas it issues each year in most categories. However, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) makes an unlimited number of visas available for US citizens’ immediate relatives. A Groveland attorney could explain the visa categories available to a citizen’s relatives and help them set realistic expectations for the family immigration process.


A spouse can apply as an Immediate Relative-1 visa unless they have been married for less than two years. In that case, the spouse could apply for a conditional green card. Two years after receiving the conditional green card, the couple must petition to have the conditions removed, at which point, the spouse receives a 10 year green card.


A citizen’s unmarried children under 21 can apply as Immediate Relatives. Married children and children over 21, regardless of marital status, must apply for a Family Preference visa. Unmarried children over 21 may apply in the F-1 category. Married children are eligible in the F-3 category. The U.S. issues only 226,000 visas in the Family Preference categories every year, and the demand usually exceeds the supply. A child who must apply in a Family Preference category might wait many years for a visa to become available.


If the citizen is over 21, they may sponsor their parents as Immediate Relatives.


A citizen may sponsor their siblings to immigrate; however, these relatives fall into the F-4 Family Preference category and must often wait over 10 years for visas to become available.

Visas Available to a Green Card Holder’s Relatives

A Lawful Permanent Resident (“LPR”) may sponsor their spouse and unmarried children. LPRs cannot sponsor parents, siblings, married children, or other relatives.

Spouses and minor, unmarried children are eligible in the F-2A visa category, while unmarried children over 21 must apply in the F-2B visa category.

If a child turns 21 while their application is pending, they might move from the F-2A to the F-2B category, which will extend the waiting time. However, sometimes the USCIS deducts the number of months an application has been pending from the child’s age, which could keep a child in the F-2A category in some cases. A Groveland family immigration attorney could explain whether deducting the wait time could be possible in a specific case.

Procedure for Bringing Family Members to the United States

The sponsor’s status affects which family members can immigrate and what visa category applies. However, the procedure is the same whether the sponsor is a citizen or a green card holder.

File Petition and Application

The sponsor must file Form I-130, the Petition for Alien Relative. If the relative who is the subject of the petition is in the U.S., they may file a Form 485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Change Status, at the same time. If the relative is outside the U.S., they must wait until USCIS approves the sponsor’s I-130 and finalize the process at a consular interview abroad.

Guarantee Financial Support

The sponsor must complete an Affidavit of Support agreeing to be responsible for the family member’s needs until they become a citizen or have accumulated 40 quarters of work in the U.S. If the sponsor’s financial resources are inadequate, they may have a joint sponsor.

Applicant Interview

The applicant must have an interview with an immigration officer. A USCIS officer will conduct the interview if the applicant is already in the U.S. If the applicant is in a foreign country, they must go to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence for their interview. A Groveland attorney could ensure that a family immigration applicant has the supporting documentation they need and is prepared to answer the interviewer’s questions.

Get Help from a Groveland Family Immigration Attorney

Family immigration is a multi-step process that could seem overwhelming if you do not know what to expect. Application processing is slow and can be stressful.

A Groveland family immigration lawyer could help you understand what is happening throughout the process and ensure you do not experience unnecessary delays. Call the Bennett Law Center today to speak with an experienced and caring professional.