How to apply for American residency by family petition, step by step

Thousands of migrants seek to help their immediate family members find a better life in the United States. In this sense, American residency by family petition is a vital resource for any migrant seeking to reunite with loved ones.

Today, together with the experts at Urbina Immigration Law, we will analyze what adjustment of status by family petition is all about and the steps to follow to obtain it. Remember that this is a complex process. Do not face it alone. Contact us today and let us begin the process of reuniting you with your loved ones.

What is American residency by family petition?

American Residency by family petition is a permanent resident status in the United States that is obtained through an application filed by an immediate family member who is a citizen or lawful permanent resident in the country. This category allows certain immediate family members to live and work in the United States legally, provided they meet certain requirements.

Urbina Immigration Law Services in Georgia pexels edgar colomba 2240293 - Urbina Immigration Law.
American residency is a permanent status in the United States obtained through an application filed by an immediate family member.

Who can apply for American residency by family petition?

Persons who may apply for American Residency by family petition are those who are immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.

In summary, those who can apply for American Residency by family petition are:

  • Spouses of citizens or legal permanent residents.
  • Unmarried children under 21 years of age of citizens or legal permanent residents.
  • Parents of U.S. citizens (only for citizens, not for legal permanent residents).
  • Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (for citizens only, not legal permanent residents).
  • Other relatives such as in-laws, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, and uncles/uncles, as long as the petitioner is under 21 years of age and the petitioner is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
Urbina Immigration Law Services in Georgia pexels rdne stock project 5637770 - Urbina Immigration Law.
Immediate family members of a U.S. citizen or resident may apply for permanent residence.

Do not face this tough process on your own. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you determine your eligibility to obtain American residency by family petition. Talk to an attorney today and take the first step to reunite with your loved ones.

What are the requirements for American residency by family petition?

In general terms, the requirements for American Residency by family petition are as follows:

  • Be an immediate family member of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States.
  • No criminal record.
  • Demonstrate financial ability to support himself/herself in the United States.

However, it is important to remember thateligibility may vary depending on family relationship and other factors. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with an immigration attorney to ensure that all requirements are met.

Preference categories for American residency by family petition

These categories determine the eligibility of family members to apply for permanent residence in the United States. While any of these categories would qualify you to apply for this benefit, please note that processing times vary depending on the category you are in.

In the following table you will find the preference categories for permanent residence by family petition:

Preferential CategoryDescription
First preference (F1)Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens over 21 years of age.
Second preference (F2A)Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age of legal permanent residents.
Second preference (F2B)Unmarried sons and daughters over 21 years of age of legal permanent residents.
Third preference (F3)Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
Fourth preference (F4)Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens if the U.S. citizen is 21 years of age or older.

What documents do I need to apply for American residency by family petition?

The documents required to apply for American Residency by family petition may vary depending on the particular situation and immigrant category. Here is a general list of documents that are usually required:

  • Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative: This form is the first step and must be duly completed and signed by the petitioner, who is a citizen or lawful permanent resident. The petition establishes the family relationship and the desire for the foreign relative to immigrate.
  • Proof of family relationship: Documents must be provided to prove the family relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary. This may include birth certificates, marriage certificates, adoption records, or other legal documents supporting the relationship.
  • Proof of petitioner’s legal status: If the petitioner is a lawful permanent resident, evidence of legal status, such as a copy of his or her Green Card, will be required. If you are a U.S. citizen, a copy of your certificate of citizenship or passport must be provided.
  • Form I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status: This form is used if the beneficiary relative is in the United States and wishes to adjust his or her status from nonimmigrant to permanent resident.
  • Photos: Recent photos of the beneficiary must be included in accordance with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) specifications.
  • Payment of fees: It is necessary to pay the fees required by USCIS to process the application. Amounts may vary and should be verified at the time of application.
  • Financial documents: To demonstrate the petitioner’s financial ability to support the beneficiary, financial documents such as tax returns, bank statements and letters of employment may be required.
  • Form DS-260 (for consular processing): If the beneficiary family member is outside the United States and is undergoing-consular processing, Form DS-260, Nonimmigrant Visa Application, must be completed online.
  • Additional documents: Depending on the specific situation and individual circumstances, USCIS or the U.S. consulate may request additional documents, such as criminal records, medical evaluations, and other documents related to eligibility and security.
Urbina Immigration Law Services in Georgia pexels pixabay 261621 - Urbina Immigration Law.
It is important that the Form I-130 be signed by the U.S. citizen or resident petitioner.

It is important to remember that the requirements may vary depending on the immigrant category and individual situation. Therefore, it is recommended that you consult with an immigration attorney for specific guidance on the documents required in each case.

How to obtain an American residency by family petition?

Step 1 – Eligibility

Verify that you are an immediate family member of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Immediate family members include spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, parents (for citizens), and siblings (for citizens only).

Step 2 – Submission of the Petition

The citizen or lawful permanent resident must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative Petition, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form officially establishes the family relationship and the desire for the foreign relative to immigrate.

Step 3 – Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing

If the beneficiary relative is within the United States, he or she may adjust status by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This allows you to change your status from nonimmigrant to permanent resident.

If the beneficiary family member is outside the United States, consular processing must be followed. This involves filing the DS-160 form and preparing the necessary documentation for the interview at the U.S. consulate in your home country.

Step 4 – Evidence and Documents

Provide documentary evidence that proves the family relationship, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, or legal documents that support the relationship.

In addition, provide evidence of the petitioner’s legal status (certificate of citizenship or U.S. passport or copy of Green Card). Financial documents may also be required to demonstrate that the petitioner has the financial ability to support the beneficiary.

Step 5 – Evaluation and Interview

Prepare for a possible interview with USCIS or the consulate, where the information submitted will be reviewed and eligibility will be verified. Collaborate in the evaluation process by providing accurate and honest information.

Step 6 – Obtaining Residency

If your petition is approved, an immigrant visa will be issued. Once in the United States, the beneficiary can obtain permanent residency and, after five years, apply for U.S. citizenship if desired.

Remember that details may vary on a case-by-case basis, so it is always advisable to consult with an immigration attorney for specific, up-to-date guidance.

How long does it take to process an application for American residency by family petition?

The time required to obtain American Residency by family petition varies depending on the category you are in. In general, applications in category “A” tend to be processed faster than those in category “B”.

However, exact times may vary and are subject to changes in immigration policies. Therefore, it is best to consult with an immigration attorney for up-to-date information on processing times.

What happens if my application for American residency by family petition is denied?

If your application for permanent residence by family petition is denied, you may consider appealing the decision or filing a new application if your situation changes. It is crucial to consult with an immigration attorney to explore your options.

Are there other resources to get my loved ones U.S. residency?

Yes, there are other ways to obtain legal permanent residency. Some of them are the CR1 visa or “spousal visa”, the CR1 visavisa, the K-1 visa or “fiancé visa”, and the K-1and the family reunification.

If you believe you qualify for any of these visas or would like to learn about other resources for reuniting with your loved ones, Urbina Immigration Law can help. Tell us your case and one of our experienced attorneys will guide you to reunite with the ones you love.

Is there a limit on the number of family members who can apply for American residency by family petition?

There is no limit on the number of persons who may apply for American Residency by family petition. However, it is important to note that only a limited number of applications are accepted each year, which can lead to waiting lists in some categories.

Other resources

How to obtain a Green Card in the United States – Updated Guide

What are the Green Card categories?

What are the requirements for family reunification in the United States?

Green card by marriage in the United States, in detail

Form I-130: Everything you need to know

Family Reunification Parole in the United States: A Complete Guide

Form DS 260: The essential step for your immigrant visa

Family sponsorship limits: How many family members can I bring to the United States?

What is the CR1 Visa? A complete guide

Family reunification in the U.S.: At what age can a child petition for his or her parents?

Family sibling petition: what you need to know as a U.S. citizen

What proofs of marriage should I submit to USCIS?

Conditional residency by marriage: What happens if I divorce before permanent residency?

Permanent Residence for Victims of Violence or Crimes