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How to help a family member become a permanent resident

If you are a lawful permanent resident (commonly called a green card holder), you may be able to help your relatives become permanent residents, too. This would allow them to come to the U.S. and begin living and working here legally.

Here are some common questions and answers about the process:

Who can I bring to the U.S ?
As a permanent resident, you can petition to bring your spouse or your unmarried children to this country. (If you are an actual U.S. citizen, you can petition to bring married children here as well.)

What paperwork do I need to file?
You will need to file Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative). If you have any concerns, an immigration law attorney can assist you and make the application process easier.

What happens after I file the petition?
After you file Form I-130, your relative will be placed on a waiting list. Once all the people ahead of him or her on the list receive visas, your relative will qualify for a visa, too. It could take months or even years. The U.S. Department of State will contact your relative when it's time to apply for an immigrant visa.

Is there any way to speed up the process?
The sooner you file the petition, the sooner your relative gets placed on the waiting list, so acting promptly is important. Also, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) points out that close relatives of U.S. citizens typically aren't placed on a waiting list. They are immediately eligible to become permanent residents. So, if you become a naturalized citizen, you can likely help your loved ones skip the waiting list.

Will this cost me anything?
Yes, your relative must pay a $165.00 immigrant fee to be admitted as a lawful permanent resident. Also, by filing an I-130 petition, you agree to be your relative's financial sponsor. This means that you must earn enough money to be able to provide for your family member when he or she first comes to the U.S.

Learn more about obtaining green cards for your family members by talking with an experienced immigration lawyer today.

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