Immigrant (permanent immigration) benefits for family members can be obtained through family-based immigrant petitions. Family-based petitions are filed by U.S. citizens or permanent residents for specified relatives. U.S. citizens may petition for their spouses, parents, minor children, unmarried sons and/or daughters over 21, and married sons and/or daughters over 21. Permanent residents may petition for their spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and/or daughters over 21.
Family members, generally, are also eligible for immigration benefits as derivative beneficiaries in employment-based (EB) permanent resident cases. These derivative beneficiaries receive the same EB category and same priority date as the primary. If the family members are together in the United States, ideally, they will be able to obtain permanent residence together. Other options are available if this is not possible. Similarly, spouses and minor children are eligible as derivative beneficiaries in the family-based (FB) preference cases. This privilege does not extend to FB immediate relatives, as they do not have derivative beneficiaries. The spouses and minor children in both EB and FB cases are entitled to immigration benefits.
Derivative beneficiaries are entitled to the same EB or FB category and priority date. Qualifying family members may be able to immigrate as a unit, or process later based on the primary beneficiary’s EB or FB category and priority date.
- Must be filed by either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Are limited to specified relatives; not available for grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, or in-laws
- Based on marriage include anti-fraud provisions; require proof of bona fide marriage
- Must include Form I-130 and documentation of qualifying biological or legal relationship
- For preference relative usually must wait years for priority date to become current
- Generally require petitioner to file affidavit of support
- Appropriateness of one’s category or eligibility to continue the case can significantly be altered by life changes (i.e. marriage or turning 21)
- Marriage timing is important for spouses. A couple must marry before the primary beneficiary’s permanent residence is approved.
How We Can Help You
- The Murthy Law Firm can help assess and plan for immigrant family options.
- Our attorneys represent families in FB immigrant petitions and derivative beneficiary cases.
- We can assist whether one’s relatives are in the United States or abroad.
- Our attorneys prepare applicants for interviews at the USCIS and U.S. consulates, as well as representation at USCIS interviews.