3 Facts about bringing over loved ones from another country
According to the National Immigration Forum, approximately 48% of all immigrants come to the U.S. on family-sponsored visas.
While this immigration option is popular, there are a few essential facts to learn about this process.
1. The U.S. Citizen applies for the immigration visa
The first step to bringing a loved one into the United States is to provide sponsorship. A sponsor must be:
- at least 21 years of age,
- a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States
- able to financially support their family member
The sponsor starts the immigration process by filing an application, known as an I-130, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
2. Applicants must go through a detailed screening process
After USCIS validates the application, the beneficiaries, or family members wanting to come to the U.S., must participate in several different tasks to receive their green cards. Some objectives include:
- passing background checks
- submitting marriage and birth certificates
- getting medical evaluations
- updating vaccinations
- undergoing interviews with the consulate
These tasks may take from several weeks to many years to complete.
3. Annual restrictions limit the number of visas
Immigration services classify family members into two groups. Parents, children and spouses of a citizen fit the classification of immediate relatives. In contrast, siblings of U.S. citizens and spouses and children of permanent residents belong to the family preference category. There are only 675,000 visas available each year. Immediate relatives get priority, limiting the number of visas available for all other groups.
While the immigration process requires a lot of dedication and patience, it is worth the effort to reunite with family members.