Law Offices of Stuart J. Reich, PLLC

Practice Limited to Immigration & Nationality Law

11 Broadway, Suite 615
New York, NY 10004

(212) 430-6582 phone
(212) 430-6583 facsimile

Permanent Residence based on other Relationship to a Citizen or Permanent Resident

Q: What other family relationships besides spouses allow for sponsoring someone for permanent residence?

A: Several relationships other than marriage permit sponsorship for permanent residence:

  • An adult (over 21) US citizen child can sponsor a parent.
  • US citizen parents can sponsor a child of any age, whether married or not, though whether the child is over or under 21 and whether the child is married or not can make a huge difference in how long the process takes.
  • Adult (over 21) US citizen siblings can sponsor a brother or sister, though this process takes such an incredibly long time for immigrant visa availability as to be impractical in most situations as anything but a fallback.
  • A permanent resident (non-citizen) parent, in addition to being able to sponsor a spouse, can sponsor a minor (under 21) child or an unmarried child over 21, but not a married child over the age of 21.

Q: What relationships do not allow a pathway to permanent residence sponsorship?

A: Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles and Cousins (as well as any more distant relationship) can’t sponsor for permanent residence whether they be citizens or permanent residents themselves.

Q: Is the process for other family members more or less the same as for sponsorship by a US citizen spouse?

A: It is for an adult US citizen child sponsoring a parent and for the other categories where the individual being sponsored entered legally and has maintained valid status (which is unusual) or where the individual being sponsored remains abroad.

For someone present in the US without status, these categories may simply not be practical. Adjustment of status in the US would require not just lawful entry (“entry with inspection”) as would a US citizen marriage-based case, but unbroken/unelapsed immigration status right up to the time of filing the final stage. Without this, the person being sponsored would need to Consular Process – go through a US consular post abroad. Here, the act of leaving will often trigger the three and ten-year reentry bars for which a waiver would be needed – and depending on the category, no qualifying relative may be available.



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The above is presented for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship with our firm. The information provided should not be used as guidance in pursuing an immigration matter absent consultation with a qualified immigration attorney.