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Who qualifies as immediate family to immigration?

Many citizens of the United States have relatives who are from other countries. Some of those relatives could be entitled to enter into the United States if they qualify as immediate family. A question that most New York residents looking to bring in a foreign relative may have is about whom the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services considers immediate family.

Most New York residents already know that spouses are considered to be immediate family. Children under the age of 21 who are unmarried and children over the age of 21 — regardless of whether they are married or not — also qualify. If the U.S citizen is over the age of 21, his or her parents and siblings could also be allowed to stay in the country. Petitions can be filed to obtain green cards for these relatives, which would give them permanent residence here in the United States. In the alternative, a petition could request a K3/K4 nonimmigrant visa for a spouse or children (under 21 and unmarried only).

Some might be surprised to know that a petition could be filed by a U.S. citizen to bring in a fiancé (and any children of the fiancé who are under the age of 21). If a fiancé visa is approved, it might be possible for that individual to become a permanent resident later. The process can be more complex than just filling out a petition, however.

Bringing immediate family into the United States to live is one of the rights that its citizens enjoy. However, that right comes with certain legal requirements, and it would be beneficial to have an attorney who regularly deals in immigration law to help meet those requirements. Otherwise, the process could be delayed or a petition could be denied due to a clerical error or other misstep.

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