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The process behind bringing a family member here to the U.S. -- II

In our previous post, we discussed how one of the main priorities for those people who recently secured citizenship is trying to bring their loved ones here to the U.S., a task that can prove to be rather difficult for the uninitiated.

In today's post, we'll continue to explore the steps that U.S. citizens can take to help reunite them with foreign family members. Specifically, we'll explore what happens after the Form I-130 is filed and the expedited treatment granted to immediate relatives.

After the Form I-130 is filed

Once filed, the Form I-130 and the evidence establishing a family relationship will be reviewed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. If approved, the petition will essentially give the relative who you are looking to help secure status as a lawful permanent resident a place in line with all other people from 1) the same country/region and 2) with the same type of familial relationship to the petitioner.

Here, the place in line is determined based on the date the petition was originally filed, and when the relative does reach the head of the line, they will have to satisfy admission requirements and pass a series of background checks before their application for a Green Card will be approved.

Expedited processing for immediate relatives

While certain relatives may have to wait in line for a visa for quite awhile, immediate relatives -- spouses, parents and unmarried children under 21 -- are not subject to these waiting periods. Indeed, once a U.S. citizen's Form I-130 for any of these immediate relatives is approved, there is no waiting period, meaning they essentially jump to the front of the line and are free to file their visa applications.

It must be noted, however, that U.S. citizens must file separate petitions for every relative they are seeking to help immigrate to the America, including their own children.

The family members of relatives

When a family member a U.S. citizen has petitioned for finally reaches the front of the visa line, their spouse and unmarried children under 21 may also file their own visa applications.

By way of illustration, if a U.S. citizen files a Form I-130 on behalf of their married son, they cannot file separation petitions on behalf of their daughter-in-law and their grandchildren. However, once their son reaches the front of the line and can apply for a Green Card, his wife and children can submit their own applications at the same time.

We'll continue to explore this important topic in future posts.

If you have questions about family immigration matters or require assistance with the otherwise complex paperwork accompanying most immigration matters, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "How do I help my relative become a U.S. permanent resident?" Accessed Sept. 24, 2014

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