INFORMED PRAGMATIC COUNSEL
Family-Based Immigration Process
U.S. citizens who are married to foreign national spouses may petition for them to become U.S. permanent residents. They may also do so for their parents and unmarried children under the age of 21. These family members, or immediate relatives, would not be subject to the annual visa quotas and would be eligible for permanent residence once they successfully go through the application process.
U.S. permanent residents may also petition for their spouses and children, although they would be subject to the annual visa quotas, as would other family members, such as siblings or children over the age of 21 (adult children). Married adult children of U.S. citizens are eligible for visas although subject to the wait, while married adult children of U.S. permanent residents would not be eligible.
In most cases, the U.S. citizen or permanent resident must prove that the necessary biological relationships exist in order to ensure that the petition is successful. The foreign national would also need to show that there are no inadmissibility issues or be able to overcome any issues that might exist.
In a spousal petition, the U.S. citizen or permanent resident and the foreign national spouse must also prove that their relationship is bona fide in nature.