This section of the website provides step-by-step webpages explaining the process for family and employment-based immigration, and describes what you will need to do.
The family relationships and specific types of employment that can be sponsored for immigration purposes are based on U.S. immigration laws, which establish both the allowable immigrant visa categories, requirements for eligibility, and procedures. While many family relationships can be sponsored, some family relationships cannot be sponsored to immigrate to the United States. To immigrate based on employment, both employer and prospective employee must meet certain requirements.
The petition filed by the U.S. sponsor must be approved by USCIS before you can begin the steps in immigrant visa application process.
To apply for an immigrant visa, a foreign citizen must be sponsored by a U.S. citizen relative(s), U.S. lawful permanent resident, or by a prospective employer, and be the beneficiary of an approved petition.A first step in the process is the sponsor filing a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
A U.S. citizen can file an immigrant visa petition for:
- Son or daughter
- Brother or sister
A U.S. lawful permanent resident (that is, a green-card holder) can file an immigrant visa petition for:
- Unmarried son or daughter
Petitions Required to be Filed in the United States
U.S. citizens and lawful permanent resident sponsors residing in the United States file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the USCIS Chicago Lockbox facility, following instructions on the USCIS website. U.S. employers file Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, as instructed on the USCIS website.
Filing Petitions Outside the United States
While most immigrant visa petitions are filed in the United States, filing certain types of petition forms outside the United States is limited. Learn about filing petition outside of the United States.
Your immigrant petition must be approved by USCIS before you can begin the immigrant visa application process.