There is perhaps no better feeling than the unification of family members from across borders. Whether for work, school, or simply to enjoy life together as a family, immigration laws in California are designed to protect the civil and labor rights of those coming from outside the United States to rejoin family members residing here.

In fact, a U.S citizen may petition for certain family members to not only gain entry, but also obtain a Green Card or Visa, depending on the circumstances. Assistance from an experienced immigration attorney can ensure proper steps are taken to make the process as smooth as possible.

Petitioning for Family Members — Which Ones?

Immigration regulations layout very specific guidelines when it comes to a U.S Citizen petitioning for entry into the country of a non-citizen family member, including the following:

  • Spouse;
  • Children who are unmarried and younger than 21 years of age;
  • Married children older than 21;
  • Parents — only if the petitioner is over 21 years of age; and
  • Siblings — if the petition is 21 or older.

Each of these people are eligible to apply for and receive a Green Card, allowing for permanent residence in the United States.

If a United States citizen has a non-resident fiancé he or she wishes to bring into the country to marry, immigration procedures are in place to gain for them, as well as their children (under the age of 21), a Fiancé visa. The criteria for this application require that:

  • The petitioner is a U.S. citizen;
  • The marriage will occur within 90 days of the fiancé’s entry into the country;
  • Any previous marriages must have been legally terminated; and
  • The engaged parties must have met, in person, at least one within two year of the petition. Exceptions to this rule include:
  • A meeting violates strict and long-established customs of your or your fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice; and
  • If you prove the requirement to meet results in extreme hardship to you.


A variety of forms exist that must be completed, depending on the family member for whom a citizen is petitioning entry, and filed with the proper authorities. Failure to do so, or omitting certain information, can negate the hard work and planning already completed. An attorney experienced in family immigration matters can help you navigate the process.

Rely on a San Jose Family-Based Immigration Lawyer

When you need help navigating the immigration process for your family, it is best to discuss your needs with a knowledgeable Santa Clara County immigration attorney. SAC Attorneys LLP provide clients with meticulous case review and counseling. For a free consultation, call the SAC Attorneys LLP at 408-436-0789.