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Who is considered to be an 'immediate relative'?

In a recent blog post, we discussed some of the differences between being a U.S. citizen and being a lawful permanent resident. In that post, which can be read in full by clicking here, we discussed many of the rights and benefits of becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States. 

One such benefit of citizenship affects not just you, but also your immediate relatives who wish to also come to the U.S. If you are a U.S. citizen, you have the ability to secure visas for immediate relatives more easily and faster than people who are not citizens.

According to family citizenship laws in this country, a citizen can petition for a visa on behalf of an immediate relative. There is no waiting period for people seeking this type of visa for immediate relatives which means that they can be issued much faster and with fewer restrictions.

There are basically two types of relatives that a citizen may petition for in regards to family visas: immediate relatives and other family members.

Immediate relatives include your spouse, unmarried children under the age of 21 and parents, if you are a citizen under the age of 21. These people will not have to wait in line for a visa.

Other family members would include unmarried adult children, married children, siblings or certain family members of green card holders. While visas are available for these relatives, they will have to wait in a line and assigned to a preference category.

Whether you are petitioning for a visa for an immediate relative or another family member, there are several legal requirements of which you must be aware. For instance, you will need to serve as that person's sponsor and prove that you have adequate means of supporting him or her when they arrive.

If you are a U.S. citizen and have questions about how and if you can petition for a green card for a family member, you can discuss your options and the process with an attorney.

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