Immediate Relative

The term immediate relative refers to a limited group of relatives of U.S. citizens. Immediate relatives are: spouses, parents, and children of U.S. citizens. In this case the term child is defined as unmarried and under 21 years of age. Only a U.S. citizen who is 21 years of age or older may petition for immigration benefits for his/her parent/s. The immediate relative category has many advantages; one of which, in effect, is that it is not subject to the numerical limitations and backlogs that apply to the preference relative categories. This means that there is always immediate availability of visa numbers.


  • The sponsoring U.S. citizen relative must file Form I-130 on behalf of the foreign national relative.
  • If the foreign national relative is in the United States, it may be possible to request adjustment of status to permanent residence (Form I-485); if outside the U.S., the case will proceed via consular processing for an immigrant visa.
  • The qualifying relationship must be documented. Biological relationships generally are proven via birth records and related proof of the familial relationship.
  • Spouses must establish the existence of a legal marriage, as well as proof that the marriage is bona fide (not entered into primarily for purposes of gaining immigration benefits).
  • If married for less than two years, the foreign national spouse will receive conditional permanent residence, valid for a two-year period. Removal of the conditions requires a later filing, again documenting the bona fide marriage.
  • Filing for a relative generally requires an affidavit of support, establishing that the relative will not become a public charge.

How We Can Help You

  • The Murthy Law Firm regularly represents individuals who are seeking immigration benefits for or through family members.
  • We provide advice to those exploring family-based immigration options, as well as full-scope representation throughout the family-based immigration case process.
  • There are multiple steps and multiple forms required throughout the process of requesting family-based immigration benefits. We guide our clients through each step, and help them to unify their families in the United States.

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For Immediate Relative news, information, complexities, and options, as well as Murthy Law Firm success stories in such cases, see the Family-Based, Permanent Resident page. You may also search the site for a particular topic, and narrow your search by category.