What to do with your family who live outside after you become a U.S. citizen

One question for those who become U.S. citizen recently is how to bring parents and family who lives outside the U.S. When you become a U.S. citizen, your parents become your “immediate family” according to the law and they become eligible to immigrate. It is true for your parents but not for your brothers and sisters. They are known as “Fourth Preference” under the law. However, you can still file a petition for them to immigrate.

U.S. citizens can apply for a green card for his or her parents. But the sponsor has to meet certain legal requirements. The sponsor needs to provide an affidavit for support guaranteeing certain living standards of the beneficiary. Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative along with other documents needs to be filed.

Applications for your “Fourth Preference” brothers and sisters will go onto a waiting list and depending on the country it will take a while to process. In 2013, the wait time for such applications for relatives who live in Philippines is about 24 years. One disadvantage for filing a petition for your family members is that they may have a hard time to get a B-2, Visitor for Pleasure visa to come see you.