An Overview of Family Reunification Options

Are you a foreign national who has gained citizenship in the United States? Do you now want to bring your family to live with you?

Here is a brief overview of the various family reunification options available to the public to enter the United States.


Brief Overview and Options of the Family Reunification Program

The Family Reunification Program in the United States is a group of immigration laws that specifically lay down rules relating to immigration.

The program allows immediate family members of existing citizens, green card holders, or refugees to enter the United States.

Immediate family, in this case, refers to the children, spouse, or parents of the person applying for reunification with his family. Additionally, children should be under 21 years of age and unmarried when applying for reunification.


Family Reunification Visa

Any foreign citizen who wishes to move to the United States requires an immigration visa. A US citizen or a green card holder can sponsor his immediate family to apply for an immigration visa. In family reunification, ideally, approval comes between one and five years, as each case is assessed on its own. Candidates applying through family reunification visas can get a work permit to work while they wait for their green card.


US Citizens

If the sponsor is a US citizen, there are multiple ways to bring their immediate family to the United States. US citizens can sponsor their spouse, children, parents, or immediate siblings for the visa. Once the sponsorship gets approved, the foreign family member can apply for and get a visa to move to the US.

The sponsoring US citizen also needs to show proof to the immigration authorities that they can support their incoming relatives till they can start working. US citizens can also apply for a fiancé visa if their future spouse and children are foreign nationals looking to settle in the United States.


Permanent Residents

Although permanent residents or green card holders can sponsor their relatives’ arrival in the US, there are certain limitations. Permanent residents can only sponsor their spouse or children to join them in the United States. There is a finite number of times a green card holder can sponsor his immediate family for a visa to move to the United States.



A refugee is someone who was granted asylum in the United States after they left their own country and cannot or do not want to go back. If a person was granted asylum within the last two years, they could apply for asylum for their spouse and children. Children need to be under 21 years of age and unmarried. As a refugee, you can apply for your family’s refugee status as long as you were directly granted asylum on your merit.



It is natural to want your family close, especially when starting over in a new country. However, the laws and regulations that govern immigration and moving permanently to the United States are complex. In addition, multiple forms and documents must be filled out to apply for family reunification. Therefore, it is beneficial to avail the services of professionals who know precisely what information is needed for immigration.

The International Institute of Los Angeles is dedicated to helping immigrants and foreign citizens get legal status to live in the United States. In addition, the Institute provides immigrants and refugees with legal and non-legal help to restart their lives in a new country. Contact the Institute to know how you can avail of the services of IILA to help bring your family closer to you.