How Do I Bring My Wife and Kids to the US?

Bringing your family to the US can be a complicated process, but it does not have to be difficult.  Here are my top tips to make bringing your family easier:

    1. You will file a petition for an alien relative (I-130) if you are already a citizen or permanent resident.  If you do not think this form fits your scenario, there may be another way to bring your family and you may need to contact a lawyer.
    2. Make sure you know which forms you will be filing and how much the filing fees are.  US Citizens will have to file a separate petition for each family member, and certain family members will be able to immigrate immediately and others (for example, children over the age of 21) will have to wait for an immigrant visa to become available.  Lawful permanent residents will be able to file one petition for their spouse and have their kids come through the same petition (although an immigrant visa will not be immediately available for their spouse and they will have to wait until it is available).
    3. Make sure to include the payment with the forms.  Any petitions filed without the fee (that do not include a fee waiver) will be rejected and returned.
    4. Make sure that you are actually eligible to file the forms.  USCIS will take the fees for processing an application for which you are denied because you never qualified for it in the first place.  For example, if you are a permanent resident who's spouse is in the US on a visitor's visa and you file an I-130 and I-485 package at the same time, it will be rejected because your spouse has to consular process (but USCIS will not refund the fee).
    5. Fill in each petition completely and read the instructions thoroughly to make sure that you are supplying the correct information.  This will limit the chance of receiving requests for additional evidence.
    6. If they request any additional information, make sure to get it to them within the correct amount of time.  Applications can be denied for being non-responsive.
    7. Keep a copy of the forms once you submit them.  As a lawyer I keep an electronic copy of all of my clients forms, so that no matter what happens we have a copy on file (to match up information for future petitions or future applications, ex. citizenship).

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