Which family members can a foreign worker bring to the US?

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2020 | Family Immigration

A family is an invaluable support network for every individual. The benefits of these close bonds are even more pronounced during times of significant change – such as moving to a new country for work.

There are clear benefits to family-based immigration, not just in broader economic and social terms, but for an individual as well. That’s why it is so common for foreign nationals coming to the U.S. to want to bring their family along. Here is a brief overview of the rules for doing so.

Spouses and young, unmarried children

For a foreign national working in the United States, the law looks quite favorably upon spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21. Workers here on a permanent employment-based visa or a temporary employment-based visa can generally try to bring these immediate family members to the U.S. with them.

Different visas, however, will provide for different opportunities.

An individual in the U.S. on an EB-1 visa, for example, may be able to bring their spouse and/or unmarried, younger children to the country under E-14 or E-15 status. If granted permission, this could then lead to lawful permanent residency.

Spouses and children of those in the U.S. on a temporary work visa face additional restrictions. Their stay in the U.S. is often tied directly to the visa of the supporting family member. In addition, in most cases, a dependent spouse will not be authorized to work while in the U.S. (though there are a handful of exceptions).

What about other family members?

For workers who are not U.S. citizens, there are not many opportunities to bring over other family members.  However, in very specific circumstances, there may be some long-term strategies to consider that may help you reach your goals.

Even with this brief overview of the rules, it is important to keep something in mind: The U.S. government can change many of these policies on a whim. The rules one day may be completely different the next. It’s often wise to seek guidance from a knowledgeable resource who can help guide you through the legal muck.