Spouse and unmarried minor children (under 21) of a U.S. citizen are immediately eligible for an immigrant visa if an Alien Relative Petition is approved. Generally, if the spouse and/or the children (under 21) are in the U.S. (through a lawful admission or parole) they may file locally an Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status at the same time.
If they are outside the U.S., the U.S. Citizen must file an Alien Relative Petition (I-130) with the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and upon approval, the spouse and children will need to go to the nearest U.S. consulate to apply for an immigrant visa.
A U.S. Citizen spouse with a pending Petition for Alien Relative is eligible to apply for a nonimmigrant K-3 Visa. This will entitle him/her to come to the U.S. to live and work while the visa petition is pending. If s/he has minor children (under 21) accompanying him/her, they will be given a K-4 visa. This K-3 visa is way for the spouse and children to come to the U.S. more quickly.
For unmarried children over 21 or married Children of U.S. Citizens, the Alien Relative petition must be approved first, and then a visa must become available for the children, and upon visa availability, children will need to go to the nearest U.S. consulate to apply for an immigrant visa.
Parents: A U.S. citizen, who is at least 21 years old, is eligible to petition to bring his/her parents to live and work permanently in the United States, by filing an Alien Relative Petition with the USCIS. Once the Petition is approved, the Department of State will notify the parent(s) of the approval, and to go to the local U.S. consulate to complete the processing for an immigrant visa. If the parent is legally inside the U.S., s/he will be eligible to apply to adjust his/her status to that of a lawful permanent.
Siblings: The US Citizen is also eligible to file an immigrant petition for his/her foreign siblings (brother, sister, step brother/sister of the same parents) with the USCIS. When the petition is approved, one must wait for a sibling immigrant visa to become available, and once it becomes available, the US State Department will notify the sibling to go to the nearest Consulate for visa processing. If the sibling is legally inside the US, when an immigrant visa number becomes available, s/he may apply to adjust status to that of a lawful permanent resident. The waiting period for this type of visa is currently about 12 years so as a practical matter, it is only good for consideration in long-term plans.
Note: The following is basic information regarding the types of visas available. It is in no way to be construed as legal advice. For further information you are encouraged to contact The Fogle Law Firm, LLC for a consultation or appointment so we can provide you with the appropriate solution for your particular case and assist you in achieving your goals.