Individuals in the United States in some situations can apply to have their relatives move to join them in the United States. This guide lists some of the applications for family reunification. It does not cover every program for family applications.
Eligibility depends on several things:
- The legal status of the person in the United States.
- The relationship between the person in the United States and their relative.
- All of the programs will require evidence to prove that the person in the U.S. is eligible to apply to reunite with their relative.
- Some programs have deadlines or fees also.
- Many programs listed here have more requirements. This article does not list every requirement for every program.
Some people could apply to more than one program to help the same relative. In many situations, there is no relevant program to help more distant relatives.
For each program, this guide links to other articles for more information.
U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents in the United States
U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents can apply for some relatives to move to the United States. In some situations, relatives will have long waits for many years before they can move to the United States.
Legal permanent residents are also called green card holders. They can apply for their spouse and children as long as the child is not married. U.S. citizens can apply for their spouse and child of any age or marital status. U.S. citizens over the age of 21 can also apply for their siblings and parents. Individuals file a form called I-130 to start this application process. More information about the I-130 process is here.
Finally, U.S. citizens can apply for their fiance. They file a form called the I-129F to start this process. More information about the fiance visa process is here.
Refugees and approved asylum-seekers in the United States
People who resettled as refugees or who have approved asylum status in the United States can apply to reunite with their spouse. They can also apply to reunite with their children depending on the age and marital status of the children. The form to apply through this program is the I-730.
There is also another program for family members of people with refugee or approved asylum status. People who resettled as refugees, Afghan and Iraqi SIVs, and people who have approved asylum status can apply for their spouse, their children in some situations, and their parents. The relatives outside the United States must also be refugees. That includes that they must be outside their country of origin. The name of this is the Priority 3 program. The form to apply is the Affidavit of Relationship.
Iraqi and Afghan SIV recipients in the United States
Iraqi and Afghan SIV recipients who resettle to the United States can apply for their spouse and children in some situations. This is called following to join an SIV recipient. More information is in this IRAP guide for relatives of SIV recipients. They can also submit P-3 applications for their parents if their parents are refugees.
Spouses, sons, daughters, parents and siblings of Iraqis who have received SIVs may be eligible for the Direct Access Program for Iraqis with U.S affiliations. This is a refugee program that faces extremely long delays. More information about the Iraqi Direct Access Program is here.
U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents with Syrian and Iraqi relatives
This guide already mentioned the I-130 form. U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents can file this form for some relatives. An Iraqi or Syrian citizen with an approved I-130 can apply for refugee status in the United States. More information about the Direct Access Program for Iraqis and Syrians with approved I-130s is here.
Iraqi spouses, sons, daughters, parents and siblings of people who worked for the U.S. government in Iraq, U.S. media organizations, or U.S.-based charities may be eligible for the Direct Access Program. This is a refugee program that faces extremely long delays. More information about the Iraqi Direct Access Program is here.
People from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras with relatives in the United States
The Central American Minors (CAM) program is a legal pathway for children and other family members facing persecution or danger in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to reunite with parents who are lawfully present in the United States. IRAP’s guide about this program is here.
You or your relative may want to ask an immigration attorney for help with this process. Here are a few resources:
- Information about asking for help from IRAP is here.
- If you are in Jordan, you can ask for IRAP Jordan’s help using this form. If the form is closed, you can check back at a later date.
- A list of free immigration legal service providers in the United States is available here.
- A list of private immigration attorneys in the United States is available here.