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Family of U.S. Citizens

This page describes how you (a U.S. citizen) may petition for certain family members to receive either a green card, a fiancee visa or a K-3/K-4 Visa based on your relationship. (If your relative wishes to naturalize or obtain proof of citizenship, see the “Citizenship” section of our website.)

Bringing Spouses to Live in the United States as Permanent Residents

Eligibility
In order to bring your spouse (husband or wife) to live in the United States as a green card holder (permanent resident), you must be either a U.S. citizen or green card holder.
How to Bring your Spouse to the United States

You are a: Your spouse is: How to Apply
U.S. citizen Inside the United States (through lawful admission or parole) File Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status, at the same time. See form instructions for more information.
Outside the United States File Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.

When the Form I-130 is approved, it will be sent for consular processing and the consulate or embassy will provide notification and processing information. See form instructions for more information.

Green card holder (Permanent resident) Inside the United States (through lawful admission or parole) File Form I-130. After a visa number becomes available, apply to adjust status to permanent residency using Form I-485. NOTE: Unless the beneficiary (your spouse) had an immigrant visa petition or labor certification pending prior to April 30, 2001, the beneficiary must have continuously maintained lawful status in the United States in order to adjust status. See form instructions for more information.
Outside the United States File Form I-130. When Form I-130 is approved and a visa is available, it will be sent for consular processing and the consulate or embassy will provide notification and processing information. See form instructions for more information.

If you or a member of your family is in the U.S. military special conditions may apply to your situation. For information and additional resources, see the “Military” section of our website.
Required Documentation
To complete the process, the petitioner must submit:

• Form I-130 (signed with proper fee), with all required documentation, including:
o Two completed and signed G-325A forms (one for you and one for your spouse)
o A copy of your civil marriage certificate
o A copy of all divorce decrees, death certificates, or annulment decrees that demonstrate that all previous marriages entered into by you and/or your spouse were terminated
o Passport style photos of you and your spouse (see Form I-130 instructions for photo requirements)
o Evidence of all legal name changes for you and/or your spouse (may include marriage certificates, divorce decrees, court judgment of name change, adoption decrees, etc.)
• If you are a U.S. citizen, you must demonstrate your status with:
o A copy of your valid U.S. passport OR
o A copy of your U.S. birth certificate OR
o A copy of Consular Report of Birth Abroad OR
o A copy of your naturalization certificate OR
o A copy of your certificate of citizenship
• If you are a green card holder (permanent resident), you must demonstrate your status with:
o A copy (front and back) of Form I-551 (green card) OR
o A copy of your foreign passport bearing a stamp showing temporary evidence of permanent residence

Bringing Children, Sons and Daughters to Live in the United States as Permanent Residents

The age and marital status of your children are important factors in the immigration process. For immigration purposes, a “child” is defined as being unmarried and under 21, whereas if a person is married and/or over 21, that person is defined asa “son” or “daughter”.

Eligibility Requirements

If you are a… You may petition for…
U.S. citizen · Children (unmarried and under 21)
· Unmarried sons and daughters (21 or over) – Your son or daughter’s child(ren) may be included on this petition.
· Married sons and daughters (any age) – Your son or daughter’s spouse and/or child(ren) may be included on this petition.
Permanent resident (green card holder) · Children (unmarried and under 21) – Your child’s child(ren) may be included on this petition.
· Unmarried sons and daughters (21 or over) – Your son or daughter’s child(ren) may be included on this petition.

A more detailed description of who is considered a “child” in the immigration process is given below. If you or your child, son or daughter currently serves in the U.S. military, see the “Military” section of the website.
Required Documentation

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative (signed with proper fee)
  • Evidence of your U.S. citizenship:
    • A copy of your U.S. birth certificate OR
    • A copy of your unexpired U.S. passport OR
    • A copy of Consular Report of Birth Abroad OR
    • A copy of your naturalization certificate OR
    • A copy of your certificate of citizenship
  • If you are a permanent resident, you must demonstrate your status with:
    • A copy (front and back) of Form I-551 (green card) OR
    • A copy of your foreign passport bearing a stamp showing temporary evidence of permanent residence.
  • If your name or your child’s name has changed, proof of legal name change (may include marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption decree, court judgment of name change, etc.)
  • Proof of relationship (see chart below for case-specific requirements)

Bringing Parents to Live in the United States as Permanent Residents

Eligibility
To petition for your parents (mother or father) to live in the United States as green card holders, you must be a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old. Green card holders (permanent residents) may not petition to bring parents to live permanently in the United States.
The table below describes what steps you must take to petition depending upon your circumstances:

 

If you are a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old, and your…

Then you must submit…

mother lives outside the United States,

  • Form I-130
  • A copy of your birth certificate showing your name and your mother’s name
  • A copy of your Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. passport if you were not born in the United States

father lives outside the United States,

  • Form I-130
  • A copy of your birth certificate showing your name and the names of both parents
  • A copy of your Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship or U.S. passport if you were not born in the United States
  • A copy of your parents’ civil marriage certificate

father lives outside the United States and you were born out of wedlock and were not legitimated by your father before your 18th birthday,

  • Form I-130
  • A copy of your birth certificate showing your name and your father’s name
  • A copy of your Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship or U.S. passport if you were not born in the United States 
  • Evidence that an emotional or financial bond existed between you and your father before you were married or reached the age of 21, whichever came first

father lives outside the United States and you were born out of wedlock and were legitimated  by your father before your 18th birthday,

  • Form I-130
  • A copy of your birth certificate showing your name and your father’s name
  • A copy of your Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship or U.S. passport if you were not born in the United States 
  • Evidence that you were legitimated before your 18th birthday through the marriage of your natural parents, the laws of your state or country (of birth or residence), or the laws of your father’s state or country (of birth or residence)

petition is filed to bring your step-parent to live in the United States,

  • Form I-130
  • A copy of your birth certificate showing the names of your birth parents
  • A copy of the civil marriage certificate of your birth parent to your step-parent showing that the marriage occurred before your 18th birthday
  • A copy of any divorce decrees, death certificates, or annulment decrees to show that any previous marriage entered into by your natural or step-parent ended legally

petition is filed to bring your adoptive parent to live in the United States,

  • Form I-130
  • A copy of your birth certificate
  • A copy of your Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship if you were not born in the United States
  • A certified copy of the adoption certificate showing that the adoption took place before your 16th birthday
  • A statement showing the dates and places you have lived together with your parent

Note: If your name or your parent’s name has changed, please include proof of the legal name change (may include marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption decree, court judgment of name change, etc.)

Bringing Siblings to Live in the United States as Permanent Residents

Eligibility
To petition to bring your sibling (brother or sister) to live in the United States as a green card holder, you must be a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years of age. Permanent residents may not petition to bring siblings to live permanently in the United States.
Required Documentation
To successfully complete the process, the U.S. citizen petitioner (i.e. the sponsor) must submit:

  • A completed Form I-130. (Note: You do not need to file a separate Form I-130 for your sibling’s spouse or unmarried children under 21 years of age.)
  • A copy of your birth certificate and a copy of your sibling’s birth certificate showing that you have at least one common parent.
  • Evidence that you are a U.S. citizen, such as: 
    • A copy of your valid U.S. passport, OR
    • A copy of your U.S. birth certificate, OR
    • A copy of Consular Report of Birth Abroad, OR
    • A copy of your naturalization certificate, OR
    • A copy of your certificate of citizenship 

Fiancé(e) Visas

This page provides information for U.S. citizens wishing to bring a foreign national fiancé(e) living abroad to the United States to marry.
If you plan to marry a foreign national outside the United States or your fiancé(e) is already residing legally in the United States, you do not need to file for a fiancé(e) visa. See the “Green Card” page.
Application Process
• File Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e).
Eligibility Requirements
If you petition for a fiancé(e) visa, you must show that:
• You (the petitioner) are a U.S. citizen.
• You intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the United States.
• You and your fiancé(e) are both free to marry and any previous marriages must have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment.
• You met each other, in person, at least once within 2 years of filing your petition. There are two exceptions that require a waiver:
1. If the requirement to meet would violate strict and long-established customs of your or your fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice.
2. If you prove that the requirement to meet would result in extreme hardship to you.

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