Bringing Immigrant Family Members to the U.S.

Moving can be an exciting, yet stressful, adventure. Add a move to a new country and there are significant challenges and questions that arise in the process. Depending on your unique situation for coming to the United States, there are specific regulations and rules that you should be aware of in regards to bringing your family with you to the United States. 


Bringing your spouse to the U.S.

Romantic love is a common way that people bring family to the United States. The marriage visa is a common option for permanent citizens who want to bring their foreign national fiance to the U.S. There is an option to legally move to the U.S. while the visa is in process, thanks to the K-3 visa.  However, if you’re already married, there are different guidelines to pay attention to when bringing your spouse. To qualify as a spouse, you must be legally married. If you have a common-law spouse, whether they qualify will depend on the country’s laws where the marriage took place.

For American citizens, there is a more direct application process, known as the A1 visa, which is a way to petition for parents, spouses, and unmarried children under the age of 21 to come to the United States fairly simply.


Bringing children to the U.S.

Biological children, some adoptive children, and some stepchildren can qualify under the same path as spouses. Age limits and custody stipulations can apply. Typically, the first step would be with a petition for immigrant relatives. However, as each case is different, the first step should be to contact a family visa attorney to provide guidance and familiarity with the ever changing legal system. 


Bringing your parents to the U.S.

Parents are a bit more complicated to petition for within the American immigration system. If you want to bring your parents to the United States, you’ll need to wait until you meet the requirements of becoming a U.S. citizen, including being a permanent resident for at least five years. In addition to the residency length, you will have to apply for and successfully complete naturalization. Permanent residents are not able to petition for their parents. 


As we have emphasized many times, each immigration case is different, and the rules of the immigration system are subject to change. For the most current information and guidance, we recommend contacting our office to speak to a professional immigration attorney.


Forms to know:

Form I-130, Petition for Immigrant Relative

Nonimmigrant K-3 visa 

A1 visa