Living in the United States while your family is abroad can be upsetting, because you want the people you care about to be with you. Fortunately, there are some different visa options that you can look into that may help your loved ones reach the United States and stay in the future.
The main thing you need to think about first is your own status in the country. If you are a citizen, your family may have more opportunities than if you are a permanent resident.
The United States offers two kinds of family-based immigrant visas
In the U.S., there are two kinds of visas you can use to bring family into the country. There is a family preference visa for specific, but more distant, family members. There is also an immediate relative visa that is for those who are closely related to you. For the immediate relative visa, you will need to be a U.S. citizen.
The immediate relative visas aren’t limited in number, which is why it does pay dividends to be a citizen before you try to bring family to the U.S. If you are a permanent resident, you will need to use the family preference visa, and this category is limited to only a certain number of visas annually.
Who can citizens or lawful permanent residents bring to the United States?
U.S. citizens can bring their spouses, parents, siblings, and children to the United States. LPRs can only bring their unmarried children and/or spouse.
What if a family member doesn’t qualify for one of these visas?
The good news is that there may be other visa options. If you aren’t married yet but will be, a fiancé visa (K-1) may be the right choice for you. If your cousin or an extended family member has skills that could be used in the United States, applying for a work-related visa and green card may be a better option for them to get to the country.
If anyone in your family is at risk of persecution in another country or is fleeing from war, then asylum may be another option to pursue.
Immigration attorneys deal with situations involving families often. If you have concerns, it’s helpful to learn more about all the legal options that may be open to your family.