Bringing your family to the USA can be a dream come true. But how does it work, and do you need a lawyer’s help?

Now that you have become a U.S. citizen, you might feel like there’s something more you are longing for. Being away from your parents or family members in the U.S. can be challenging. Even if your parents get a tourist visa, they can only stay in the United States for up to six months. If that doesn’t work for you, there are ways for your parents to become green card holders and live in the U.S. permanently.

8 Simple Steps for Bringing a Loved One Home to the USA

Helping a family member come to the USA involves a step-by-step process. Let’s go through these steps:

  • Conveying Your Purpose: The process begins with a U.S. citizen or green card holder expressing the desire to bring a family member to the USA. This is done by filing a petition showing a special family connection.
  • Establishing a Date: The government assigns a “priority date” to the petition, determining when the family member can proceed in their journey.
  • Embracing Patience as the Key: Exercise patience during the waiting period, which varies based on the family relationship and the family member’s origin. Await the arrival of the designated date.
  • Initiating the Visa Application: When the designated date arrives, your family member can initiate the visa application process at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country, similar to preparing for travel to the USA.
  • The Interview Process: Before boarding, a crucial interview with an immigration officer happens. In this discussion, family members must showcase that they meet all visa requirements.
  • Time for the Evaluation: A health check is essential before any significant trip. Similarly, the family member undergoes a medical examination to ensure they are in good health for their time in the USA.
  • Receiving the Approval Signal: If everything progresses smoothly and officials are satisfied, the visa gets the green light – the final clearance before takeoff.
  • Prepared for Departure: The family member can fly to the USA with the approved visa. This marks the final step in their journey, allowing them to reunite with loved ones and begin a new chapter in the United States of America.
family immigration

Family Immigrant Visas: Who Can Apply?

In the United States, family immigrant visas are a pathway for close family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) to reunite with their loved ones. These visas promote family unity and allow eligible family members to reside permanently in the U.S.

Let’s delve into the eligibility criteria for family immigrant visas:

Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens:

Immediate relatives have a special status, and there is no limit on the number of visas available for them each year. This category includes:

  • Spouses of U.S. citizens
  • Unmarried children (under 21 years) of U.S. citizens
  • Orphaned children adopted abroad by U.S. citizens

Family Preference Categories:

Beyond immediate relatives, there are family preference categories with a limited number of visas issued annually. These categories include:

  • F-1 (Family First): Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, along with their minor children.
  • F-2 (Family Second): Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (21 years and older) of green card holders.
  • F-3 (Family Third): Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children.
  • F-4 (Family Fourth): Siblings of adult U.S. citizens, spouses, and minor children.

How to Apply:

The process starts with a sponsoring family member filing a petition (Form I-130) on behalf of the immigrant relative. The petitioner must establish the qualifying relationship, and once the petition is approved, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing.

Waiting Periods:

The waiting period varies based on the family preference category and the relationship. Immediate relatives typically experience shorter waiting times compared to those in preference categories.

Consular Processing:

The process moves to consular processing once the waiting period ends and a visa number becomes available. This involves the family member attending an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.

Medical Examination:

As part of the visa application process, the family member must undergo a medical examination by an approved panel physician to ensure they meet health requirements.

Visa Approval and Entry:

If the consular officer approves the visa application, the family member receives an immigrant visa, allowing them to travel to the U.S. and seek admission at a port of entry.

Permanent Residency:

Upon entry, family members become permanent residents (green card holders) and can live and work in the United States. This status opens the door to various benefits, including applying for U.S. citizenship after meeting eligibility criteria.

The Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer for Your Immigration Needs

Navigating immigration processes can be tricky, but having a lawyer can make things easier. For the following reasons:

  • Expert Guidance: Lawyers are well-versed in immigration laws and can guide you through the process, ensuring everything is done correctly.
  • Assistance with Paperwork: Immigration often involves much paperwork. Lawyers can assist you in filling out forms accurately, ensuring everything is noticed.
  • Avoiding Mistakes: Making errors in immigration applications can lead to delays. Lawyers help you avoid these mistakes, expediting the overall process.
  • Understanding Your Options: A lawyer can explain all the immigration options available, helping you make informed decisions based on your unique situation.
  • Handling Complex Cases: If your case is complex, such as facing deportation, a lawyer can provide the necessary expertise and support.
  • Representation in Court: In legal proceedings, having a lawyer by your side ensures proper representation, increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome.
  • Staying Updated: By staying up-to-date with the latest developments in immigration laws, attorneys ensure that your case is expertly handled in compliance with the most recent regulations.
  • Peace of Mind: With a lawyer handling your immigration matters, you can experience peace of mind, knowing that a professional is taking care of every detail.

Trusted Advisors: Why Thompson Legal Group is Your Best Choice for Immigration Representation

Dealing with changing immigration rules and the complex immigration process can feel confusing. At Thompson Legal Group, our highly skilled immigration lawyer is here to simplify your journey.

Staying abreast of the latest developments, our professional criminal defense attorney in Maryland will guide the process and regulations you must adhere to. Whether you seek a family-based adjustment of status or information on green card renewal timelines, we offer a comprehensive range of citizenship and immigration services.

Contact Thompson Legal Group today for a free consultation. With a track record of successfully aiding thousands of green card holders in their U.S. immigration journey, we are committed to assisting you in realizing your American dream!


The initial step is for a sponsoring family member to file a petition (Form I-130) on behalf of the intended immigrant relative.

The duration varies based on the family relationship and origin, with immediate relatives experiencing shorter waiting times than preference categories.

Begin the visa application process at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate when the designated date arrives, similar to preparing for travel to the USA.

The interview with an immigration officer is a crucial step where family members must demonstrate that they meet all visa requirements.

Yes, a medical examination is essential before significant travel to ensure the family member is in good health for their time in the USA.

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