You can become a United States citizen in two ways. You can be a born citizen if your mother gives birth within the country or if your parents are United States citizens. You can also become a naturalized citizen by enduring background and medical checks, passing exams and applying for your naturalized citizenship after living in the country for several years.
Whether you are a born or naturalized United States citizen, one of the benefits of your citizenship is the ability to help your family members immigrate. Citizens have more options than those with visas or Green Cards. Who in your family could you potentially help enter the United States?
Spouses and certain children have first preference
As a United States citizen, you can usually assist your spouse and your children with entry to the country. Even a fiance born abroad could enter the United States under a specialized fiance visa. Spouses have clear rights, but with children, there are different options depending on your family circumstances.
The strongest immigration claims will come from your children who are under the age of 21 and not yet married. However, you may also be able to seek family preference visas for older, married children. Law recognizes biological and adoptive children, as well as same-sex spouses.
What other family members could you help?
United States citizens and their parents enter the United States. In some situations, they can also sponsor their brothers and sisters for entry into the country. Still, it’s worth noting that siblings have the lowest priority in the family preference visa program, meaning it could take multiple years and repeat applications to achieve success.
Those who have a citizen in their immediate family still need to pass the same screening as those applying for immigration on their own merits. Your loved ones must undergo background checks, interviews and even medical exams to enter the country. Still, the process may be easier and faster if they approach immigration with the help of someone who is already a citizen.
Learning more about the immigration opportunities for the family members of United States citizens can help you support your loved ones who want to enter the United States.