Can my relative wait in the United States until becoming a permanent resident?

Filing an I-130 petition does not allow your relative to live or work in the United States. An I-130 petition only establishes your relationship with your relative.

If you are sponsoring your husband or wife, unmarried child under 21, or parent, they entered the United States legally, and they are still in the United States, they can submit Form I-485, Application to Register Permanence or Adjust Status when you file their I-130 petition. If Form I-485 is filed at the same time as the I-130, the relative can usually stay in the United States while waiting to become a permanent resident. They can also work if they file Form I-765 with the I-485 and I-130.

For other relatives, the combination of high demand and the limits set by law on how many people can immigrate each year means your relative may have to wait several years while petitions that were filed before theirs are processed. When your relative reaches the front of the line, the U.S. Department of State will contact your relative and invite him or her to apply for an immigrant visa.

Current wait times for visa categories are available under “Visa Bulletins” on the State Department’s Web site

Author: Mark

A U.S. immigration lawyer. Legal Services available in Arabic and Russian.

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