Can I Petition More Than One Relative for a US Visa?

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Bringing Your Relatives to the United States: A Guide For Citizens and Permanent Residents

The foundation of society is the family unit, and the desire to be together is a universal sentiment. Legal residents of the United States looking to sponsor more than one person or close relative can do so by filing a family-based petition.

Through family-based petitions, individuals can help their immediate relatives get an immigration visa by sponsoring them. Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) and US citizens may sponsor family members to immigrate to the country. However, US citizens can sponsor a wider variety of family members.

Families want to stay together, so sponsors always inquire how many family members they can assist in immigrating. This guide sheds light on family-based petitions, the possibility of petitioning multiple relatives, and crucial considerations in family immigration.

Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, has extensive experience in US immigration law and has helped families reunite with loved ones in America. The firm delivers personalized and professional support for various immigration concerns.

Understanding Family-Based Petitions

A family-based petition is an immigration method that allows some relatives of a US citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) to obtain permanent residence based on family ties. A legal permanent resident can only sponsor a spouse and unmarried children. These include adult unmarried children over the age of 21.

A US citizen, on the other hand, can sponsor more immediate relatives. They can petition for the following family members:

  • Their own spouses

  • Their children who are unmarried and under 21

  • Their children who are married

  • Their children over 21

  • Parents of the petitioner (if the petitioner is over 21)

  • Siblings of the petitioner (if the petitioner is over 21)

While US citizens can sponsor unlimited immediate relatives, annual limits apply to specific immigrant categories.

Immediate Relatives: An immigrant visa is always available for US citizens’ spouses, children, and parents. They do not need to wait in line. There is no numerical limit to visas in the immediate relative category. If they are already in the country, they need to file Form I-485 or the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, along with Form I-130 or the Petition for Alien Relative.

Preference Categories: For other family relationships, preference categories apply. The visas for these family members have annual numerical limits.

The groups of preference categories for close relatives are as follows:

  • First Preference: Unmarried adult children of US citizens

  • Second Preference, 2A: Spouses of Green Card holders, unmarried children of permanent residents who are under 21 years of age

  • Second Preference, 2B: Unmarried adult children of permanent residents

  • Third Preference: Married children of US citizens

  • Fourth Preference: Siblings of US citizens

How Can I Sponsor a Family Member?

To sponsor or petition for a family member, the US citizen must file a Form I-130 to establish and prove a qualified family relationship. Then, a form I-864 (Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA) must be filed. This demonstrates the petitioner’s financial capacity to support the family member.

If you’ve been asking yourself, “How can I sponsor a family member?” talk to an immigration lawyer at Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, for an extensive answer.

Can a US Citizen Petition Multiple Relatives?

The short answer is yes; it is possible to petition multiple relatives. However, there are certain conditions on the matter.

When sponsoring someone through family preference, the sponsored individual can bring their spouse and unmarried children below 21 without an additional petition. These family members are considered derivative beneficiaries. A derivative beneficiary cannot be petitioned directly but may accompany or follow to join the principal beneficiary.

When the petitioner sponsors an “immediate relative,” the beneficiary cannot bring along derivative beneficiaries. Each family member must have an individual petition filed on their behalf.

Special Considerations When Petitioning Family Members

Several factors influence the filing and immigration process for sponsoring family members:

Age and Status Limitation

The age and legal status of a petitioned family member determine their category. For instance, unmarried children under 21 fall into the immediate relative category, while unmarried adults are categorized differently under preference categories. They will now be subject to preference categories, where the number of visas released is limited yearly. Married sons and daughters of US citizens will also be considered under the preference categories.

Financial Requirements

Financial sponsorship is obligatory, with sponsors needing an income at least 125% of the Federal poverty level. This means the sponsor’s annual income must not be lower than $21,775. If the sponsor is an active-duty military personnel, his annual income must be equal to or above 100% of the Federal poverty level. Assets such as the sponsor’s savings and checking accounts, bonds, stocks, and properties may be considered if the income does not meet the minimum requirement.

The affidavit of sponsorship serves as a safeguard, ensuring sponsored family members won’t rely on government assistance programs like Food Stamps, Medicaid, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The affidavit of sponsorship is valid until the sponsored person or family member:

  • Becomes a US citizen;

  • Accrues ten years or 40 quarters of work in the US

  • Leaves the United States permanently; or

  • Dies

Let an Immigration Attorney Help You Bring Your Family Together in the US.

When petitioning for an immediate relative visa, no derivative beneficiaries are allowed. A separate visa petition must be filed for each relative. Family members petitioned under the preference category can bring along derivative beneficiaries without the need to file multiple petitions.

Navigating the intricacies of immigration, especially concerning family reunification, can be intricate. Seeking legal guidance from an experienced immigration attorney streamlines the process, from paperwork to court representation.

Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law with a proven track record, addresses all immigration concerns. The firm’s seasoned immigration attorneys have assisted numerous clients in achieving legal immigration status. For those striving to bring their families together in the US, consulting with us is a step toward informed and effective immigration solutions. Contact us today, and let us know how we can assist you.