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Immigration Resources

Petitioning for Relatives

Posted by Kripa Upadhyay | Feb 01, 2019

Petitioning for Relatives

The majority of immigrants in the United States arrive on the basis of their relationship to a family member, whether a legal permanent resident or a citizen. To accomplish this, the family member files an I-130 form.

IR – Immediate Relative Immigrant

U.S. citizens can, without delay beyond processing times and backlogs, bring the following categories of people into the United States without waiting for a number in the queue to become available:

  • their spouse, if they have been married for over two years (IR1);
  • their unmarried child under age 21 (IR2)
  • an orphan adopted by them while abroad (IR3);
  • an orphan which they intend to adopt in the United States (IR4);
  • either or both of their parents, if the citizen is over the age of 21 (IR5).

If a spouse has been married to the citizen for less than two years, the visa is ‘conditional', so the couple's relationship must be ‘re-proved' two years later. This is called a CR-1 visa.

F – Family Preference Immigrant

U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents can bring certain other categories of citizens into the United States, but there is a waiting time while the queue progresses because only a limited amount of immigrants are allowed into the country on this basis each year.

U.S. citizens can bring the following categories of people into the United States, with the following wait times (excluding certain ‘listed countries', as set out below):

  • their unmarried sons and daughters above the age of 21 (F1, ~7 years)
  • their married sons and daughters (F3, ~12 years)
  • their brothers and sisters, if the citizen is over the age of 21 (F4, ~14 years)

Permanent residents can bring the following:

  • their children under the age of 21 and spouses (F2A, ~2 years)
  • their unmarried sons and daughters above the age of 21 (F2B, ~7 years)

Waiting times vary for people born in a ‘listed area'. The estimated waiting times given above are for natives of all countries other than Mexico and the Philippines; Mainland China and India are technically ‘listed areas', but are currently up to date. The waiting times are as follows for people in the listed countries.

For Mexico:

  • F1, ~21 years;
  • F2A, ~2 years;
  • F2B, ~21 years;
  • F3, ~23 years;
  • F4; ~20 years.

For the Philippines:

  • F1, ~12 years;
  • F2A, ~2 years;
  • F2B, ~11 years;
  • F3, ~23 years;
  • F4, ~23 years.

Waiting times may change at any time, because they are based on a specific numerical quantity of visas that may be issued each year and not a set amount of years.

Financial Requirements

The sponsoring citizen or legal permanent resident must have enough income and/or assets to sustain the proposed immigrant at 125% of the Federal Poverty Level.

They must sign a document which allows the sponsored immigrant to sue them for the amount owed if they do not sustain them at that level, as well as any welfare agencies which provide for the sponsored immigrant.

The sponsoring citizen or legal permanent resident must be above 18 to sign this form.


There are dozens of grounds of inadmissibility which will preclude the intending immigrant from going to the United States. Some of these may be waived; many may not.

You may consult with us on the availability of any waiver in a specific case. Some of the more common grounds are having committed certain crimes, lying to immigration officers to get an immigration benefit or having been deported from the United States before.


The petitioner must fill out I-130, petition for alien relative. If the relative is a spouse, form I-130A, Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary, must also be filled out. Form G-1145 may be filled out if you would like to get an electronic notification when the petition is received. Where the petition is filed depends on where you live.

Immigrants who are inside of the United States at the time of filing must file for ‘adjustment of status' in addition to their I-130 and associated forms.

The petitioner and beneficiary should be able to show that they have a bona fide relationship through means such as financially tying themselves together by buying property together, signing up for bank accounts together, getting credit cards together, taking out loans together, as well as having photographs of themselves together, text-messaging or e-mailing each other, and various other methods. The government will take into account the totality of your evidence in order to decide if your relationship is genuine.

Call Orbit Law Today

The process of applying for permanent residence may often be difficult or complicated, and certain mistakes could seriously delay or even cause the denial of your case. For an evaluation of your case, call Orbit Law at 206.623.3352 today.

The information available on this website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain a more detailed advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this website or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Orbit Law PLLC and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

About the Author

Kripa Upadhyay

Kripa Upadhyay Founder/Attorney [email protected] EDUCATION Seattle University School of Law, Seattle, WA, Juris Doctor (JD)  May 2007 ADMISSIONS Washington State Bar Association: Admitted May 2008 U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Washington: Admitted 2009 U.S...