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What you should know about immediate relative immigrant visas

You have family members who don’t live in the United States, because you were the first to come to this country. After many years, you happened to marry a citizen, and now, you’re a citizen yourself.

With the benefit of becoming a U.S. citizen, you do get the right to bring your direct family members to the United States to live. There are rules that apply, but in most cases, you can bring your immediate relatives to the United States without any major restrictions. If they qualify, then they may come to work and live in the United States as a permanent resident.

Who can use immediate relative immigrant visas?

Immediate relative immigrant visas are available to spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens. One of the benefits of being a citizen is that there is no restriction on the number of immediate relatives that you can bring to the United States. Additionally, there isn’t a specific number of immediate relative visas issued each year, unlike some other forms that have limitations.

To use the immediate relative immigrant visa, you must show that you are a citizen. Only certain relatives may use the visa, such as:

  • Your unmarried children under the age of 21
  • Your parent, so long as you are a citizen over the age of 21
  • Your spouse

Once your loved one comes to the United States, they can become a lawful permanent resident. They will need to apply to become a permanent resident using form I-485, which is the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

Can you use an immediate relative immigrant visa as a permanent resident?

To be able to use an immediate relative visa, you must be a U.S. citizen. Lawful permanent residents cannot petition to bring their parents to work or live permanently in the United States.

Citizenship and family-based immigration can be complex. It’s worth taking time to review the forms and documents you need to fill out and to get to know your legal rights and responsibilities before you complete any applications. This will help you save time and money on your visa applications.