How to Help a Relative Become Permanent Resident

If you want to petition a family member for a green card, family sponsorship allows you to support your family member’s ability to get a green card. This can allow you to be reunited in the US with your family and will allow your family the benefits of living and working in the US. However, the process does require quite a few steps:

  1. Visit the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website to read about green card family sponsorship. You will need to be a green card holder or US citizen to sponsor family and you can only sponsor a child, spouse, sibling, or parent in most cases. In some cases, exceptions may be made. Make sure that you determine that you are qualified to sponsor your family member and then determine whether you are the best person to sponsor them. If they have a closer US citizen relative, that closer relationship may mean a better processing time.
  2. Speak with your family member about green card family sponsorship. It is an involved process and you want to be sure that your family member will cooperate with you every step of the way.
  3. Download Form I-130 from the USCIS website as well as the instructions for Form I-130. Read the instructions carefully and fill out Form I-130 completely and honestly. Keep in mind that any dishonesty on this form could be a federal offense. If you are not sure how to fill out Form I-130, contact the USCIS to ask for help. If you feel that there is something in your past or your relative’s past that could affect the application, consult with a qualified US immigration attorney before filing Form I-130. Be sure to include any documents required by the application. You may need to include birth certificates, marriage licenses, your proof of citizenship, and other documents.
  4. Pay the filing fee. When filing Form I-130, make sure that you send a postal money order for the whole cost of the processing fees. Make the payment payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  5. Mail the form to the right address. Check the Form I-130 to ensure you are sending the form to the right place.
  6. Wait for a reply. Homeland Security may request further information or documentation or an interview. Check for status updates and follow all request to the best of your ability to ensure that your family member gets a green card.