In this section you will find lots of information about how to petition to bringing a family member or partner to the United States. Please feel free to explore the rest of the site, using the links below, to find out more information. 

As the person filing the petition for your loved one, on legal forms, you will be referred to as the “petitioner” and your loved one will be referred to as the “beneficiary”. 

With an immigrant visa, your family members are eligible for an adjustment of status as soon as they arrive in the United States. Each classification comes with it’s own restrictions and protocols to follow in order to adjust status and to apply for benefits. To find out more about each category of visa, please explore this page. 

One of the major differences between the Immediate Relative and Family Preference categories is that the Family Preference categories have numerical limitations. In other words, even if your loved one is qualified for a visa, he or she must wait for a visa to become available within their specific category and in some cases, for particular countries. This can lead to long delays in processing. The chronological order is created based the date you filed the petition. 

Once your citizenship has been conferred, you can submit petitions for your family members and loved ones to join you in the United States. One of the privileges of citizenship is the ability to petition for immediate relatives, like your spouse, unmarried children under 21 years of age, and parents without immigration quota limits.  To learn more about the benefits of citizenship and legal permanent residency, please check read more on our "Citizenship" page.

If you are a U.S. citizen, you can petition for a wide variety of family members to join you in the United States:

IR-1: Spouse of a U.S. Citizen 

*CR-1: Spouse of a U.S. Citizen (if you have been married for less than two years)

IR-2: Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age 

IR-5: Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old

F1: Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children, if any

F3: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children 

F4: Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age

If you are a legal permanent, you can petition for a limited variety of family members to join you in the United States:

F2: Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of LPRs


Requirements to Apply

The requirements can easily vary depending on every individual case, but some of the general requirements are:

  • The petitioner must be a U.S. Citizen
  • In the case of spouses (wife/husband), they need to be legally married to the petitioner. 
  • In the case of children, they must be under the age of 21 years and unmarried
  • The petitioner must have already filed form I-130 (it is not necessary to be approved in order to apply)
  • In the case of parents, the U.S. petitioner must be over 21 years old
  • It’s important that the applicant (spouse or children) must not have already had a visa interview or be scheduled for one
  • The priority date of the petition must be at least 3 years old (not current)
  • The petitioner must live in United States (though it is possible for a U.S. citizen who lives abroad to file a petition)

Required Forms 

  • I-130, Petition for Alien Relative

Required Government Filing Fees

  • $420

Required Documentation 

  • Passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless there are country-specific agreements that provide exemptions)

  • Copies of Civil Documents:

    • Birth Certificate of Beneficiary; 

    • Proof of citizenship or permanent residency of US citizen spouse (if based on marriage);

    • Marriage certificates from present marriage and all past marriages for any previous marriages for petitioner and beneficiary;

    • Divorce or death certificate(s) of any previous spouses of both the petitioner and the beneficiary 

  • Evidence of financial support including:

    • Three most recent tax returns or tax transcripts;
    • Three recent pay stubs;
    • Employment verification letter;
  • Medical examination from an authorized civil surgeon

  • Seven (7) passport-style photo of beneficiary;

  • One (1) passport-style photo of petitioner;  

  • Evidence of a real relationship between the beneficiary and petitioner: 

    • Photographs of beneficiary and petitioner together with family and friends,

    • Correspondence addressed to the petitioner and beneficiary;

    • Correspondence between the petitioner and beneficiary (cards, letters, text/phone records, instant messenger)

    • Joint accounts, bills, and policy statements listing both the petitioner and beneficiary:

      • Health insurance policy;

      • Auto, home, and/or renter's insurance policies;

      • Check and/or savings accounts;

      • Property documents;

  • DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application


The Process

  • Submit your petition 

  • Receive receipt notice from government 

  • Receive approval notice form USCIS

  • Receive notice from Embassy 

  • Consular interview at the Embassy