To promote family unity, immigration law allows U.S. citizens to petition for certain qualified relatives to come and live permanently in the United States. Eligible immediate relatives include the U.S. citizen’s:

These are considered “immediate relatives” under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Do you have such immediate relatives abroad or in the U.S. for whom you would like to sponsor a green card? If you are a U.S. citizen, you may file for these relatives, and there are no visa quotas and a visa is immediately available.

Immediate relatives do not have derivative beneficiaries. Their spouses and/or children must have petitions filed for them separately, and must qualify independently for those benefits.

How does a U.S. citizen petition on behalf of Immediate Relative?

To apply for an immediate relative visa, the petitioner must be:

  • A U.S. citizen
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Be domiciled in the U.S. or a U.S. territory or possession

The U.S. petitioner must complete and file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. This form establishes the relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary (the alien relative), and the petitioner’s status as a U.S. citizen.

If the beneficiary is in the U.S.:

If the beneficiary is in the U.S. already and was last admitted on a visa or is otherwise eligible (barring other inadmissibility issues not covered here), the beneficiary may concurrently file his/her adjustment of status. The concurrent filing of both the petition and the adjustment of status is commonly know as the “one-step” process. Generally, both will be adjudicated simultaneously.

If the beneficiary is outside the U.S.:

If the beneficiary is outside the U.S., the U.S. citizen files the I-130 petition first. Once the petition is approved, the case is transferred to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC). NVC will initiate the processing of the immigrant visa application and collect fees and supporting documentation. The case is then sent to the U.S. consulate in the beneficiary’s home country or where the beneficiary legally resides for an interview to be scheduled. If the consulate approves the application, the beneficiary can come to the U.S. with their immigrant visa and becomes a permanent resident upon his/her entry to the U.S.

Why is a San Jose Immigration Lawyer needed for this process?

Although there is no annual quota for an immediate relative visa, they can still be very challenging to obtain. The process is long and complicated, and you need an experienced IR visa lawyer who can help guide you through such a process, present evidence in the most convincing fashion, and overcome any legal issues.

As the petitioner of immediate family members, you should be aware that this process is not without risks and challenges. You will have to sign a legally binding Affidavit of Support (Form I-864), making you financially responsible for your relatives for as long as 10 years or until they obtain U.S. citizenship. You may also be sued if your relative receives public assistance benefits before becoming a U.S. citizen. In critical situations like these, it is important to have an experienced immigration lawyer who can defend your best interests.

The San Jose immigration lawyers at the Law Office of Alison Yew bring years of experience and expertise in family immigration law to the table. We have successfully handled countless immediate relative visa cases and guided our clients through every step of the way.

If you are planning to apply for a green card on behalf of an immediate relative, you’re going to need the help of a highly skilled San Jose immigration lawyer to present your case before the USCIS. Contact the Law Office of Alison Yew today for a complimentary evaluation.