Immigration through a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident family member is the most common path to U.S. residency.
There is no cap (limit) on immigration for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens—their spouses, their unmarried children under 21, and their parents.
Other close family members of citizens, as well as green card holders’ relatives, may join them in the United States. These family members include siblings and adult children of citizens, and the spouses and unmarried children of green card holders. For these additional family members, caps mean the wait times can be very long. This is especially true for people applying from countries where many others are also waiting.
For family immigration, the citizen or green card holder must submit the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. The application requires a fee. It also requires proof of the relationship and the proof of the petitioner’s citizenship or legal permanent residence.
If you are petitioning for an immediate relative from within the United States, your application will be submitted to the local office U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If you are petitioning for other close relatives, it will be submitted to the Regional Service Center.
If you are currently in another country, your application will go either to the Regional Service Center that corresponded with your last place of U.S. residence, or it will go to the overseas USCIS office that handles overseas applications. Some applicants outside the United States are permitted to submit the application to the U.S. consulate for the place they live. This depends on whether the U.S. consulate takes these petitions.
The appropriate submission procedure can vary according to your full set of circumstances. Contact me for a consultation on the specifics of your family immigration needs.