If you are new to America, you may struggle knowing that you had to leave certain people in your life behind. You may be able to bring your loved ones to America, too, using the family petition process.

Ways to Keep Grandma and Grandpa Safe From Bad People

In this article, we will go over the family petition process and how you can use it to help loved ones come to the United States.

What is the Family Petition Process?

The family petition process is a visa designed to help keep families together. A permanent United States citizen can apply for a visa to allow family members to join them in their new country. Immediate family members include children, spouses, and parents. There are also a limited number of visas available for more distant relatives to be sponsored based on family preference categories. Each person whom you sponsor will require a unique I-130 application.

To complete the process, you will need to fill out form I-130 (aka “Petition for Alien Relative”). The I-130 form is designed to prove your relationship status with your family member. It’s an integral part of your family member being able to get their green card, which will make them a legal citizen. It costs $675 to file the paperwork as of April 2024. It’s important to pay the exact amount for the application fee. If you pay too little, it can delay the proceedings. If you pay too much, it can take a long time to receive a refund.

How long does it take a form I-130 to get approved?

There are several factors that determine how quickly the I-130 form will take to get approved, including the home of the filer and the relationship with the other family member. Generally speaking, the process will take 13.5 – 20.5 months. It can take significantly longer if the applicant is not residing in the United States.

Spouses, parents, and unmarried children of U.S. citizens receive first priority. Other applications are processed in order based on their “priority date”.

Proving Relationship Status

You may need to provide proof of the relationship you declared on the I-130 form. For example, if you are bringing a spouse over, you need to prove that you are indeed married. You can provide evidence, such as your marriage license, joint bank accounts, communication records, and more. The more evidence you have, the better.

Keep in mind that the I-130 process is significantly less tedious than the K-1 visa process for fiancées, which can take significantly longer.


Home isn’t home without the people you love. Luckily, once you become a permanent citizen of the United States, you can file paperwork to have your family come here, too. For additional assistance, enlist the services of a professional immigration lawyer.