As a parent, it is only natural for you to want to give your children a better life than the one you have had. You may have made many sacrifices in the past to support their health or education. Your career, your lifestyle and your financial plans may all focus on what you want for your children.
If you now live in the United States and they are in another country, your hope may be to help them enter the United States and make use of the opportunities here. Immigration can be a challenge, but having a loved one already in the United States will open up more opportunities for you.
When can a parent help their children legally enter the United States?
When they have a visa
Although the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has strict requirements for visas, they also understand that immigration benefits the economy. Their goal is to keep family units intact when possible when approving people for visas.
Someone entering the United States for an employment or educational visa can bring their minor, unmarried children with them. Married children and those over the age of 21 likely cannot qualify for a subordinate visa.
When they have a green card
Once someone becomes a permanent resident of the United States by obtaining a green card, their opportunities for helping family members enter the country expand. They will be able to request a family preference visa for their unmarried children under the age of 21.
Older, unmarried children could also qualify for visas, although they receive lower preference consideration than unmarried, younger children of those with green cards.
When they are a United States citizen
Citizens have the most options for helping their loved ones enter the United States. Not only can they help their minor children and unmarried older children enter the country, but they may even be able to help their married children secure visas or green cards.
Just like any other visa applicant, children hoping to travel based on their relationship with a parent will be subject to medical requirements and background checks. Learning more about the different family-based immigration programs available can help family members reconnect across international lines.