Close X

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) permits a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident to petition for the immigration of his or her foreign relatives. In some cases, fiancés and widowers of U.S. citizens or permanent residents may also be able to immigrate to the United States. The process can be complicated and cumbersome, however.

To bring a family member to the U.S., the USCIS requires that you show that you are a relative of the person you seek to sponsor, that you are a naturalized citizen or a permanent resident of the U.S., and that you can financially support the person you seek to sponsor.

U.S. citizens and permanent residents have different options when it comes to petitioning for family-based visas. 

As a U.S. citizen, an individual can petition for the following relatives:

  • A spouse;

  • Unmarried children under the age of 21;

  • Unmarried children over the age of 21;

  • Married son or daughter of any age;

  • Siblings, if the petitioner is at least 21 years of age; and

  • Parents, if the petitioner is at least 21 years of age.

A lawful permanent resident of the U.S., meaning someone who has a green card, can petition only for a spouse or for unmarried children. Again, the petitioner must prove the relationships in order for the immigration authorities to consider allowing the petition. Lawful permanent residents are unable to sponsor their parents, married children, or siblings for permanent residence in the U.S.

A U.S. citizen may also petition to bring over his or her fiancé from a foreign nation under a K-1 visa. The K-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa granted to a foreign-citizen fiancé of an American citizen. The fiancé can come to the U.S. for a 90-day period, during which the U.S citizen must marry the fiancé. If no marriage takes place, the fiancé must return to his or her home country.  After the marriage the fiance now spouse can file for lawful permanent resident status.

It is important to remember that the types of visas mentioned above are not the only types of marriage and family-based visas available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. There are a variety of options that may be available based on each situation.  We are ready to help you determine your options are available, and the best manner to proceed.

Work Visas

Figuring out what type of work visa you need can be a difficult task. There are a number of work visas that are available to foreign citizens who wish to work in the United States. The visa that an individual may be eligible for depends on the nature of the work that is to be conducted. Most employment visas are non-immigrant visas that give foreign citizens the ability to temporarily live and work in the United States. The process of obtaining a visa can be long and complicated, which is why consulting a qualified immigration attorney who understands the nuances of work visas is a good starting point.


There are also some options for temporary work visa holders to obtain lawful permanent residence in the United States.  An individual may obtain permanent residence on their own in certain circumstances, or may need a U.S. employer to petition for them.   It is important to analyze each individual case to determine what the options are and which option to pursue.

An individual who may not qualify for a temporary work visa may still be sponsored by a U. S. employer if that employer can show that they can not find qualified U.S. workers to fill the job they are hiring the foreign national to do.  This process is called PERM and is a viable option for employers who require certain skills or experience and have been able to find a qualifying individual in the United States.

We are ready to help you determine what your options if you are interested in immigrating to or working in the United States.

MG Thompson Legal Is Here for You

MG Thompson Legal is committed to answering your questions about Immigration & Naturalization Law, Deportation & Removal Proceedings, and Employment & Family Immigration law issues in the United States of America.

Contact Us Today

We'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.