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Family Based Petitions

A US citizen can file petitions for a spouse, parents, children, and siblings. The US citizen must be 21 years old or older in order to petition parents and siblings.

A Legal Permanent Resident can file petitions for a spouse and unmarried children.


This overview of adoption gives the main requirements for the process. There may be other requirements depending an the facts of the case.

With one exception, in order for the adopted child to receive immigration benefits from the adoption, the adoption must take place before the adopted child is sixteen years old. The exception to this rule, allows siblings up to 18 years old to receive immigration benefits from the adoption if they have a sibling under 16 years old that is also adopted by the same family.

Spouse of a US Citizen

The spouse of a US citizen is considered an “immediate relative” for immigration purposes. This means that, once petitioned, there is a visa immediately available for the spouse to immigrate. The foreign spouse must, however, meet all the other qualifications to immigrate or must obtain waivers.

The process for petitioning a spouse depends on where the foreign spouse is, and whether the marriage has already occurred.

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