Often times one family member immigrates to the United States, and obtains their lawful permanent residency. Rather than enforce family separation based on a strict interpretation of immigration laws, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services provides a means of immigration for other members of a lawful permanent resident's family. According to the BCIS, a lawful permanent resident is a foreign national who has been granted the privilege of permanently living and working in the United States.
Gaining LPR status based on a relative who is a citizen of the United States or a lawful permanent resident involves several steps:
Already in the United States? After a visa number is available, applying to change your status to lawful permanent resident, while remaining in the US, is an option to explore with your attorney.
- You need an BCIS approved immigrant visa petition I-130 Petition for Alien Relative sponsored by your relative.
Your relative-sponsor or representative must submit the properly completed petition, including legal documentation of your relationship (to your sponsor). Get the Form
- You must obtain an immigrant visa number from the Department of State. After the DOS determines an immigrant visa number is immediately available, you can apply to have a number assigned to you.
Keep track of visa numbers with the Visa Bulletin.
- When an immigrant visa number is available, the BCIS can finish processing your case. If you are outside the United States, you must go to the US Consulate* with jurisdiction over the area you reside, in order to complete your processing.