Home > Emigrating To The USA > Emigrating to the USA as a US Citizen Relative

Emigrating to the USA as a US Citizen Relative

By: Elizabeth Mugan BA/BSc, PGDipLaw, BVC, CIArb - Updated: 28 Aug 2018 |
U.s. Citizen Emigration Relative U.s.

If you are thinking about emigrating to the U.S. there are complex procedures to follow and you must think carefully before you make your decision. Here we explain how you can be eligible for a U.S. Visa, which is if you are sponsored by a U.S. citizen relative(s).

Family Emigration

If you want to become a lawful permanent resident based on the fact that you have a relative who is a U.S. citizen or is a lawful permanent resident (after immigration to the country themselves), your relative in the U.S. will need to sponsor you and prove he/she has enough income and/or assets to support you, when in the United States. You and your relative sponsor must successfully complete certain steps in the immigration process in order to go to the U.S.

First, the United States Citizen and Immigration Service (USCIS) must approve the ‘I-130 Petition for Alien Relative’ filed by your sponsoring relative on your behalf. Next, your sponsor will need to demonstrate adequate income or assets to support you, and accept legal responsibility for financially supporting you by completing and signing a document called an ‘Affidavit of Support’. Once this is complete, then you can apply for the immigrant visa. As your sponsor is legally responsible for supporting you the decision must not be taken lightly.

Definition of Relatives(s)

In the U.S. for immigration purposes, immediate relatives include; spouse/fiancée of a U.S. citizen; unmarried child under 21 years of age of a U.S. citizen; orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen; orphan to be adopted in the United States by a U.S. citizen and parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old. It is important to note that grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws cannot sponsor you for immigration.

Marriage to a U.S. Citizen

If you are married to an American citizen, there are two ways to move to the U.S. permanently to live. One way is through the immigrant Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130 as above. The other way is through the Non immigrant visa for spouse (K-3). It is important to note that an application for the non immigrant visa spouse who married a U.S. citizen must be filed and the visa must be issued in the country where the marriage took place.

After the visa process has been completed, and the visa is issued, the spouse can travel to the U.S. to wait for the processing of the immigrant visa. In these circumstances, two petitions are required. The first one being the Petition for Alien Relative, Form 1-130; and the Petition for Alien Fiancé (e), Form I-129F.If you are the fiancé (e) of an American citizen, you may go to the U.S. to marry and live there. If you intend to travel to the U.S. for marriage, then you must file the Nonimmigrant visa for fiancé (e) (K-1). A I-129F fiancé (e) petition is also required.

Adopting a Child

You may adopt a child and bring them to the U.S. if he/she is to be adopted by you and your American Citizen Spouse. You must be habitually resident in the U.S., with the intent of creating a legal parent-child relationship and the USCIS must find you suitable and eligible to adopt. At this stage the child must not have been adopted yet, unless that adoption has been voided by the country of origin.

This is a very basic overview of the detail and complex methods of obtaining a visa and the applicable rules and regulations under ‘family relative’. For more information, please visit the USCIS website.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
myself, a British citizen and my wife an american citizen both currently live in the UK. She is petitioning me for a green card so we can both move to the States together. Can her mother, who is already domiciled in the USA be the sole sponser?
Russ - 28-Aug-18 @ 2:53 PM
Hi there i currently live in the Uk and my father lives in the usa and i would like to move there with him, im currently married and have 3 children whats the best steps for me to move to the united states?
kentishgal - 26-Aug-18 @ 12:41 PM
I wanted to ask about emigrating to the US as a US citizen relative. My sister lives in Michigan and is willing to sponsor me. I am married and have two children 8 and 11. Can she sponsor us as afamily? If so would we be restricted to living in the same area? Thank you
primabella - 13-Aug-18 @ 1:24 PM
My situation is a little complicated, my partner lived with me for 2 years in the UK. When she became pregnant with our son she went back to the us to have our child. Now she has decided that she wants to be back home in the USA which in order to be with my son and partner what is my best option to get there quickly and securely?
Reece - 13-Jul-18 @ 7:17 PM
I am a US citizen but have been living in the UK for the previous 5 years with my husband who is a UK citizen. We got married in Florida and then I applied for a spousal visa to move to the UK. Now we want to move back to the US and I have a couple of questions: 1. Can/will my parents need to sponsor us as we'll be moving over together and will both be looking for work initially? 2. I don't think the K-3 visa is an option as we're not able to file in the US at the moment, is that right? Many thanks for your help.
SLB - 10-Jul-18 @ 10:06 PM
I think I already know the answer, but what are my options for moving to the states, my cousin's live there and are us citizens, I would like to go and live with them for a year, possibly more. What are my best options?
Jonboy - 13-Oct-17 @ 5:11 PM
Hi please advise needed urgently. I’m from the U.K. and I recently got married in the USA and had to come back home to uk because of work now, My wife has filled for my i-130 application on my behalf but while I’m waiting to hear back from USCIS to see if I’m approved, Can I visit her in the USA for a few days. I am Missing her everyday.
Walton - 12-Oct-17 @ 4:17 AM
Hi, My wife is from the USA and I’m from Uk, I have a 2 part question. 1. I have dual nationality already, uk and African, I intend to move to USA at some point, do I have to give up my dual citizenship before I can get a green card.? 2. We married in the USA do I have to notify the uk tax office? Thanks for any advice.
Walsfari - 12-Oct-17 @ 4:06 AM
Hi I need some advice. I am already married (need to start divorce) but I have met someone from the US. He is my fiance and he really wants me to move to US. Is there a way to move before my divorce comes through?
Kiegskte - 21-Aug-17 @ 7:35 AM
My son who is British and his wife who is American are moving to the US. Can I move there as a retiree? How would I do this? Is there a minimum income I would need to qualify?
Frankie - 25-Jun-17 @ 9:49 PM
I need some advice really. I am a US citizen although have resided in the UK for majority of my life. I am looking to move back to the USA next year to be nearer family. I will be married again by then (april in florida), and i have a daughter from a previous marriage. What visa do i need to apply for my husband as the I.30 says i will need to sponsor him (however we will both be going out to look for work) and the K3 says that we need to apply for it in the country we were married. Which will be the usa, so we cant do that one either??? Also what visa will i need for my daughter and what documentation will they need to show i have custody/permission to take her abroad?? The website is soooo confusing
linjew - 22-Jun-17 @ 12:44 PM
My Mother, Brother and Step Father (mothers Husband) currently all live in the U.S as resident Aliens. My Step a father and Brother both work my mother does not as she doesn't need too seems my Step Father earns enough so she doesn't have too. I would like the opportunity to go and live and work there at first living with my Mother and Step Father then branching out once I find my feet. My question is would I be able to go down the road of getting a visa because I have immediate family living and working or would I have to explore another route? Many Thanks.
Jason - 24-May-17 @ 6:16 PM
hi, i am indian, but living in USA with my husband on student's VISA. looking for immigration, there is my first cousin who married to a US citizen one month ago. can he sponsor me for US green card???? if Yes, what documents are required??? and is there something to show about his income to support me financially????? thanks!!!
sadiya - 18-Apr-17 @ 2:05 PM
My half sister is a US citizen so is her mum whom my dad got married too, they have been separated for over 30years. He lives in Nigeria and would like for us to move to the states. What would he require ?
Tutu - 16-Nov-16 @ 10:21 PM
My children are US citizens, i am british, they are both under 21 so how can i move my children and myself back to the states?
Misty - 5-Oct-16 @ 9:48 PM
I have a 16 year old that's wants to live with grandmother in USA, who is married to an American. What is needed to go and is school and work an option?
Mel - 26-Sep-16 @ 10:27 AM
Can i sponsor my elderly parents to come and live in the USA with me as i am a Us Citizen, if so what do i have to do and how long does the process take??
Rachel - 17-Sep-16 @ 4:59 PM
Car - Your Question:
My father who is a retiree sponsoring me to move to the US but I was informed by National Visa Centre my fathers pension does not meet the minimum income requirement to sponsor me. They have requested me to forward another sponsor but who can I use? Very concerned, as I have got this far! Please advise. Thank you

Our Response:
If you have another family member who can meet the requirements, they would be the obvious choice.
EmigrationExpert - 26-Jul-16 @ 2:02 PM
My father who is a retiree sponsoring me to move to the US but I was informed by National Visa Centre my fathers pension does not meet the minimum income requirement to sponsor me. They have requested me to forward another sponsor but who can I use? Very concerned, as I have got this far! Please advise. Thank you
Car - 25-Jul-16 @ 11:13 PM
My son is 19 living in the USA currently attending medical school . He has a green card and has lived there four years. Can I go and live there with him .
Blossom - 15-Jul-16 @ 7:26 PM
Can I move myself and the family out to the us without relatives out there.
lorri - 13-Mar-16 @ 6:37 PM
sal - Your Question:
I am a British Citizen, MySister who is a US Citizen sponser me and family last year, How Long will ittakes ?

Our Response:
You can check how long it will take to process your information via the link here. I hope this helps.
EmigrationExpert - 20-Nov-15 @ 11:26 AM
I am a British Citizen, MySister who is a US Citizen sponser me and family last year, How Long will ittakes ?
sal - 19-Nov-15 @ 2:51 PM
@Doc - I'm afraid as we are a UK-based site we don't have the details of how long US sponsorship can take. You would need to get in touch with the United States Citizen and Immigration Service directly.
EmigrationExpert - 27-Feb-15 @ 11:42 AM
I am a British Citizen, MySister who is a US Citizen sponser me and family last year, How Long will ittakes ?
Doc - 25-Feb-15 @ 2:52 PM
I have an American company pension and soon a British old age pension totalling I guess $30,000 to 33,000 per annum and fully owned property in the UK. So with that in mind can I continue with my retirement, but in the USA. Although my son works for a well known American Computer Software Company and has recently married a USA citizen. Can I (a) come to the USA as a retiree independently. (B) if no to the above can I use my son as a sponsor (But I rather not.) Yours L D Lissiak
LUCH - 4-Jan-15 @ 2:09 AM
I am a British citizen, my wife is a US citizen. We were married in the US 7 years ago and currently live in Britain. We now plan to move to the US permanently. What forms do I need to complete? Thanks.
vic flange - 1-Sep-14 @ 2:34 PM
Where can I find a spouse being a citizen of the U.S. while I am not living in the USA.
Wannabe a citizen of - 4-Jul-13 @ 4:19 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word: