Immigration law dictates who can enter the country. Those who want to work or study in the United States need to apply for visas. Those who would like to permanently live in the United States may need to apply for a green card to become lawful permanent residents. Green card holders can eventually become naturalized citizens who can stay in the country forever and even sponsor their family members for immigration purposes.
Each of these programs offers different opportunities for those who want to help their children enter the United States.
When you have a visa
Employment and educational visas give people the opportunity to travel with their immediate family members. Your spouse and your unmarried children under the age of 21 can potentially obtain visas subordinate to your own.
When you are a permanent resident
Once you have a green card, you have more options for supporting family members who want to come to the United States. Your children could potentially qualify for family preference visas.
The minor children of permanent residents receive the highest priority consideration, but unmarried children over the age of 21 may also have a chance of getting a visa.
When you are a citizen
United States citizens have the most options for helping their children enter the country. Your child’s age or marital status will have less of an impact on your options than it would if you were only in the country on a visa or have a green card. You can potentially help both adult children and married children qualify for a family preference visa if you are a citizen.
Learning more about family-based immigration programs can help you better support your family living abroad.