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How Do I Help My Relative Become a Permanent Resident?

Guide For US Citizens

TIM, Immigration, USCIS

As a citizen of the United States, you may help a relative become a lawful permanent resident of the United States by obtaining what is often referred to as a “Green Card.” To do so, you need to sponsor your relative and be able to prove that you have enough income or assets to support your relative(s) when they come to the United States. You begin the process by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. This form establishes the family relationship that exists between you and your relative. Filing instructions and forms are available on the USCIS Web site at Sometimes the I-130 can be filed together with an application for permanent residence (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).


Which relatives may I petition for?

A U.S. citizen can file a petition for the following relatives:

  • Husband or wife;
  • Children, married or unmarried.


A U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years or older may also petition for

the following relatives:

  • Parents;
  • Brothers or sisters.

When you submit your petition, you are required to provide evidence

to prove your relationship to the person for whom you are filing.


What does the petition do for my relative?

Filing a Form I-130 and proving a qualifying relationship gives your relative a place in line with others waiting to immigrate from the same country or region based on the same type of relationship. When your relative reaches the front of the line, he or she may be eligible to immigrate after passing the required background checks

and meeting requirements for admission.


Read  more about the process for obtaining legal status for your relative on the USCIS guide at

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