New arrivals are a big part of the history of the United States, and our great nation would not be where it is today without the contributions of foreign nationals. If someone is making a new home, it is natural to want family to join in the experience. So, what are people’s choices in this situation?
- Who can help someone come to the United States?
An immediate relative must sponsor a visa for a foreign national who wants to live in the country permanently. That person must also be a legal adult and a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the country.
- What is an immediate relative and what is not?
If a U.S. citizen is considering the sponsorship, he or she may apply for a visa for a spouse, son, daughter, parent, brother or sister. Lawful permanent residents may only sponsor a spouse or unmarried child. More distant relations such as cousins and in-laws may not be recognized as immediate.
- What about other types of relatives?
There are a number of visas known as family preference visas, although they are limited each year. They apply to people connected through specific and more distant relationships with citizens or permanent residents.
- How can someone get help with these issues?
People looking to sponsor a visa for a family member may consult with an immigration attorney. Legal representation may add strength to an application and subsequent hearings or questioning regarding the effort. A lawyer can also handle the detailed paperwork involved in applications and give people peace of mind when they are working with the system.