If you are in the United States as a lawful permanent resident (LPR) or are currently a U.S. citizen, you may be wondering if U.S. immigration law permits you to bring relatives living overseas into the country. LPRs and U.S. citizens do have the right to petition for family members to enter the United States and reside lawfully for the purposes of family reunification. This requires an immigrant visa.
Different rules and regulations govern which relatives are qualified to enter. The applicant’s status, whether an LPR or a U.S. citizen, also plays a vital role. For an analysis of the law and how it applies to your unique situation, it is best to contact a qualified Montgomery family immigration lawyer.
Family-Based Immigrant Visas
An immigrant visa allows a non-citizen family member to enter and reside in the United States, but it has additional benefits as well. An immigrant visa awards LPR status to the recipient, who then receives a green card. The green card serves as legal proof of the LPR’s status, and the LPR may then work in the U.S. without special restrictions, own property, receive financial aid for school, and enlist in the Armed Forces.
There are several visa options available to accommodate families in the United States. The following is a breakdown of some of the applicable categories.
Immigrant Visa for a Spouse of a U.S. Citizen or LPR
Both U.S. citizens and LPRs may file petitions to have their spouse, to whom they are legally married, join them in the United States. Merely living together is not sufficient for purposes of immigration. The petitioner must be able to prove they maintain a primary legal residence in the United States to qualify. This option also extends to same-sex spouses of U.S. citizens and LPRs.
Immigrant Visa for Orphan Children Adopted Through Intercountry Adoption by U.S. Citizens
Once the petitioner has demonstrated that the adoption process has satisfied all legal requirements, they may petition for their foreign-born child to legally reside in the United States. According to section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), adopted children will automatically acquire U.S citizenship upon their admission into the United States should they meet the following requirements:
- They qualify as an “immediate relative” under INA 101(b)(1)(E), (F), or (G)
- They are admitted as a lawful permanent resident (LPR)
- They are residing in the United States in the U.S. citizen parents’ legal and physical custody
- They under 18 years old when they satisfy these conditions
The process of intercountry adoption is available only to U.S. citizens. In most cases, U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who adopt children in the United States can do so under domestic state adoption laws only.
Immediate Relative Visa and Family Preference Visa
The immediate relative visas apply to a U.S. citizen’s close family relationships, such as a spouse, child or parent.
The family preference visa applies to the U.S. citizen’s other, more distant family relationships, such as their spouse, child, parent, or sibling. A LPR on the other hand can only petition for specified family relatives. These include their spouse and their unmarried son or daughter.
Contact a Montgomery Family Immigration Attorney for Assistance
If you have questions regarding whether a foreign relative of yours is eligible to enter the United States, it may be helpful to contact a Montgomery Family Immigration lawyer first before filing your petition. Having a family immigration attorney by your side may increase your chances of being successful.
Contact a Family Immigration Lawyer today for a consultation.