Lawful Permanent Resident Status Through Family Relationships

Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) can help their immediate family members acquire the same LPR status that they have. It is important to note that the permanent residents in the US will file a petition on behalf of their immediate family members.

It is a process involving two steps: the filing of the petition for alien relative and the filing of the application to immigrate. If the members of the immediate family are already in the US on a different visa, when the petition for alien relative is approved, they can file an application for change of status instead of the filing the application to immigrate.


How can a Permanent Resident bring immediate family members into the US as permanent legal residents?

Permanent residents can bring their immediately family members into the US as permanent legal residents by filing a family visa petition or Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130). When this is approved, the permanent legal resident can then immediately file an application to immigrate. Immediate family members can immigrate as soon as their Petition for Alien Relative is approved, and the documentation is completed.


Who are the members of the immediate family that are eligible for immigration?

The following members of the immediate family may immigrate: the parents of a permanent resident who must be at least twenty-one years old at the time he or she files the petition; the legal spouse of the permanent resident; the adoptive, step or natural/biological children of the permanent resident.  The widow or widower of the permanent resident who died within two years of filing the petition for alien relative may also immigrate.

When the permanent resident and the alien spouse have been married for two years or less, the resident status of the alien spouse will be conditional for two years. After the period of two years, the permanent resident may petition for the removal of the conditions and the legal residency of the alien spouse will become permanent.


Can a permanent resident file a petition for other members of their family?

Yes, they can petition for other members of their family (such as their siblings) but the petition may take time (as much as ten to twelve years) because the issuance of immigrant visas is by preference. This means that they can immigrate only when there are available visas. There is a yearly cap on immigrant visas for other relatives.


What must be proved in a petition for alien relative (Form I-130)?

The permanent resident must prove that he or she is eligible to file the petition on behalf of his family; that is, that he or she possesses the status of a lawful permanent resident. The permanent resident must also prove the family relationship between him or her and the relatives who are beneficiaries of the petition.


How can the Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) be filed?

It can be filed by mailing.  The Petition must be duly accomplished, and the supporting documents must be included and attached to the petition when it is filed. It must be mailed by certified mail with return receipt for delivery.


During the application to immigrate, what must be proven?

The permanent legal resident and the beneficiaries must prove that:

  1. They do not suffer from any grounds of inadmissibility (they do not have a contagious disease or infection, for example)
  2. Their visa petition is valid because the family relationship still exists (the permanent legal resident spouse and the alien spouse are still married to each other, for example)
  3. Their visa petition is valid because the petitioner still possesses the status of the lawful permanent resident.
  4. Visas are available, and the members of the immediate family are eligible to immigrate.


Do you have questions about filing a petition for alien relative? Do you need advice on the documents you should enclose with your petition? Do you have questions on eligibility of your immediate relatives? Speak to any of our immigration lawyers at Lluis Law today.