Family-based immigration is one of the most common ways for people to enter the United States. Those who aren’t in highly-competitive professions can enter the United States lawfully based on their relationship with someone else.
Parents are among those with the strongest incentive to help their family members lawfully travel to the United States. After all, they want to give their children the best opportunities they can in life. What are the immigration options for those who would like to help their children live in the United States?
Visas can benefit immediate family members
When someone qualifies for either an employment or student visa, they don’t necessarily have to travel to the United States alone. They can also bring their immediate family members to the country if they qualify for visas. Generally, spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 are the only family members who can apply for subordinate visas to travel with someone entering the United States temporarily.
Permanent residents have more options
Once someone has lived in the country for long enough to qualify for a green card, their immigration options for loved ones will also expand. They will be able to help family members enter the country and pursue a green card of their own, which will give them a long-term right to lawfully remain in the country. However, the children of permanent residents are not the highest priority category for the family preference visa program, which means applying more than once may be necessary. Additionally, the children of those with green cards will either need to be under 21 and unmarried or over 21 and unmarried to qualify. Married children of permanent residents will not be able to secure a family preference visa.
Citizens have the most family immigration options
Once someone becomes a naturalized citizen, they expand the scenarios in which they can help their family members enter the country. Natural-born and naturalized citizens are the only people with the right to help married children secure green cards. They can also help other family members, including their parents and siblings.
Enhanced immigration options are one reason that people consider naturalizing when they have already qualified for a green card. Helping one’s children lawfully enter the United States is the end goal for many immigrants who have moved to the country, and learning about these options early can help someone plan.