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Could you help a loved one legally enter the United States?

There are many different systems that allow people to immigrate to the United States or at least enter the country legally. Some people secure visas due to employment offers that allow them to temporarily work as a non-immigrant resident. Others may enter the United States because they have to flee persecution or violence in their country of origin and make an asylum request.

Others may be able to use a family member’s permanent resident or citizenship status as a means to gain their own entry into the United States. That last system of immigration is known as family-based immigration, and it is one of the most widespread and successful forms of immigration in the country.

As someone who has either secured their Green Card and become a permanent resident or someone who has completed the naturalization process to become a full-fledged citizen of the United States of America, you can potentially help your loved ones enter the country as well.

Permanent residents can initiate family-based immigration for some people

Green card holders, also called lawful permanent residents, can potentially help sponsor immediate family members for entry into the United States under current immigration law in the United States. Through the Family Preference visa program, permanent residents can potentially help their spouses or unmarried children under the age of 21 enter the United States legally.

There are certain limitations on this program, including an annual limit to the total number of people that permanent residents can help enter the country.

Naturalized citizens have more options for helping family members

Once you become a citizen, there are fewer restrictions on family-based immigration. You can potentially help an unlimited number of immediate family members enter the country without the same restrictions there are for permanent residents.

Additionally, you can also utilize the more limited Family Preference visa program for both your parents and your siblings, which is not an option for permanent residents. If you hope to help a loved one enter the United States, getting legal advice before you initiate the process can give you an idea of what system might work for you and what costs and work are necessary to achieve success.