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WYRWTK | Episode #18 - Part 1 | How do I Bring My Family to USA as Permanent Resident & How Long Does it Take?


Transcript: Hi, I am Attorney Shaffer. Today on “What You Really Want to Know” we answer the question, “How do I bring my family to the United States as a Permanent Residents and how long does it take (Part 1-The Alien Relative Petition)?”

The answer is, the process will differ depending on how your family member is related to you.

Part 1 of this answer will focus on the Alien Relative Petition. We will cover Part 2, the NVC (National Visa Center) process, in the next episode.

First, let’s look at which family members you can file for. If you have a Green Card, you can only file for your:

  • Spouse;

  • Children under 21 years of age, and;

  • Unmarried children age 21 or over.

If you are a U.S. Citizen, you can file for a few more family members, including your:

  • Spouse;

  • Children (married & unmarried) & their spouse and minor children;

  • Parent (if you are age 21 or over);

  • Adopted orphan, and;

  • Brothers & Sisters (and their spouses and minor children).

All of these filings begin the same way, except if you are filing for your spouse. We will discuss spouse filings in a later episode.

For all other family members, you will begin by filing an alien relative petition, also known as the Form I-130. You will do this for each family member that you are petitioning for and you will file it along with the supporting evidence of your family relationship and proof of your immigration status. Exactly what evidence you will need to prove the family relationship will vary depending on who you are filing for and the particular circumstances of your relationship. In general, the types of documents you will need include:

  • Birth certificates;

  • Marriage certificates;

  • Divorce decrees;

  • Death certificates, and;

  • Adoption documentation.

You will also need to prove your immigration status with one of the following:

  • US birth certificate;

  • Naturalization Certificate;

  • US Passport Biographic Information Page, or;

  • Green Card (if you are a Lawful Permanent Resident).

Now there may be additional evidence that you need to submit, depending on the nature of your relationship to the person you are filing for. If you do not submit the correct documents initially, you are going to cause a delay in processing and possibly a lot of headaches! That is why it is essential to contact an experienced immigration attorney to verify that you have everything that you need. An example you may not be aware of, is there may be different evidence requirements if you are filing for a father than for a mother if, for example, your father is not on your birth certificate.

Once you make sure that you have filled out the forms correctly and they are signed, you are going to put that all together with the supporting documents and the correct filing fee and send it into USCIS.

In about 2 weeks you are going to receive a receipt notice that looks a little something like this. I will include this example of a redacted receipt notice on our website,, so you can take a look for yourself, and this is going to be essential for when we talk about Part 2, the NVC Process, to have this receipt notice (see image below).

Form I-130 Receipt Notice

If you need help filing for your loved one or you are worried that your pending application is taking too long. Contact us today!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of “How do I bring my family member to the US as a Permanent Resident and how long does it take? Part 2- the NVC Process!

That’s all for this episode of “What You Really Want to Know,” thanks for watching!

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