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Who Can I Petition For An Immigrant Visa?

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

As a U.S. citizen, you can help your relatives become permanent residents in America. However, they must meet certain conditions to be eligible.

Generally, you cannot file a petition for your extended family members. You can only apply for immediate family members, such as your spouse or children.

If you are a U.S. citizen who is at least or over 21 years old, you can apply for other immediate family members, such as your parents or siblings.

Filing A Petition


You can start the process by filing form I-130, which allows you to petition for your relative. Then, your loved one must apply for a status adjustment with form I-485 or an immigrant visa. When filing paperwork, timing is crucial. You can submit them accordingly depending on your situation:

  • If your relative already lives in the U.S., they can submit their form 1-485 simultaneously or after you file an I-130.

  • If they live abroad, they must wait for your I-130’s approval before submitting an immigrant visa application to the Department of State.

You can file online or send your application by mail along with supporting documents. After submission, you will receive the following notices throughout the process:

  • Confirmation of receipt

  • Notice about biometrics service, if needed

  • Interview appearance notice, if required

  • Decision notice

Other Documents


In most cases, you will need to file additional documents and provide more paperwork, depending on the application. You may also need to file form I-864, which designates a financial sponsor for your relative. Luckily, you can keep track of everything by creating an account on the USCIS website to receive updates and manage your applications.

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