One of the hardest things about immigration may be how it can separate a family, often for years. When you decide to move to the United States, you may come on your own and wait for years before you see your loved ones again.
Restrictions on travel and residency requirements for those hoping to become citizens after securing a Green Card or Permanent Resident Card could mean going many years without seeing your loved ones face-to-face. Now that you have your Green Card or have become a full-fledged United States citizen, you may find yourself thinking about bringing some of your loved ones here.
Thankfully, the United States recognizes the importance of family bonds and allows for family members of both permanent residents and naturalized citizens to potentially enter the country through the family-based immigration process.
Citizens have the broadest rights for family-based immigration
Although many visa programs have strict numerical limits per calendar year, the immigration of immediate family members of United States citizens is not subject to such annual limits. Citizens can bring their spouse and their unmarried children under the age of 21 into the country without any limit to the number of people in their family.
They may also be able to sponsor slightly more distant relatives, like parents and siblings, through a slightly more restrictive visa program that is also accessible to permanent residents or Green Card holders.
If you have a Green Card, your family can potentially join you
When you become a permanent resident or receive your Green Card, you have more rights and opportunities than those in the country on a temporary basis. One of those rights will be the right to have your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 potentially join you here in the United States.
There are limits to the annual immigration of family members for permanent residents, which might mean that you will have to wait or potentially reapply for everyone you love to join you. Still, even being able to bring your loved ones into the country after waiting can be a wonderful gift and an opportunity for you to reconnect with the people that matter the most to you.