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Petition for Family Members

Lawful permanent residents may petition for members of their immediate family to enter, live, and work in the US.


Who are considered as the members of the “immediate family” of the Lawful Permanent Resident?

The members of the immediate family of a lawful permanent resident are the:

  • Legal spouse of the LPR
  • Minor unmarried children of the LPR
  • Parents of the LPR
  • Widow or widower of the LPR


Who is considered as a “legal spouse”?

A legal spouse is a person who is validly married to the legal permanent resident. If the permanent resident and the alien spouse were married in a foreign country, their marriage must be valid in that country. The marriage relationship must be genuine or bona fide and not fraudulent or a marriage for convenience, entered for the express purpose of immigrating to the US.

The widow or widower of a permanent resident may also be considered a “legal spouse” under specific circumstances. The permanent resident must have been a member of the US Armed Forces, and the permanent resident died while in active service. The widow or widower must have been married or at least two years to the permanent resident who died and the Form I-130 should have been filed prior to the death of the permanent resident.


Who are considered as “children”?

For filing a Petition for Alien Relative, “children” includes biological children who may be legitimate, illegitimate or legitimated children, adopted children, and step children.

A biological child is legitimate when the child was born to parents who were validly married to each other at the time of his birth. They are children born “in lawful wedlock”.  A biological child is illegitimate when the child was born to parents who were not married to each other at the time of the child’s birth. These children are born “out of wedlock”. Legitimated children are those who were born to parents who were not married to each other but subsequently married each other after the birth of their child.


What are the requirements for children to immigrate?

All legitimate, illegitimate and legitimated children must be below 21 years of age and they must be unmarried to immigrate.

Adopted children who will immigrate under a Petition for Alien Relative must have been adopted before they reached the age of 16 and they must have resided with their adoptive parents for at least two years before immigrating. Their adoptive parents must have legal custody of the adopted child.

Stepchildren must be under the age of 18 when their parents were validly married to each other.


What if my child or children are all unmarried but they are over the age of 21?

You may still file a petition for alien relative for them, and they can still immigrate through a family visa petition, but they will not be considered as your immediate relative anymore.  They can immigrate under the preference system. Obtaining a visa under the preference system will take longer as there is a yearly cap on the number of visas that can be issued under the preference system.


How can I prove a bona fide family relationship?

You can prove a family relationship by submitting certified true copies of documents such as: certificates of birth or certificates of marriage. If the child is adopted, then the court order declaring the adoption should be included as a supporting document for the petition. Other proof may be submitted to prove that there is a genuine relationship such as the baptismal certificate of the child, school records, or bank accounts that show that the permanent resident sent money for the support of the relative. Proof such as emails or letters and photographs show that there is a genuine relationship between the relative and the permanent resident.


Are you wondering if you can petition for your alien relatives? Do you want to know if your family member can immigrate under the preference system? Do you need help proving the genuineness of your relationship with the members of your immediate family? We can help. Call us today at Lluis Law.