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Family-Based Applications

Beneficiary locations

Family-based petitions can be filed for beneficiaries both inside and outside the U.S. 
  • U.S: 

    • If your family member entered with permission and they can show proof of valid relationship that meets all of the requirements, then they can get a green card on approval

  • Outside the U.S:  

    • If your family member is in Afghanistan, or another country outside the U.S. they must

    • 1. Show proof of a valid relationship that meets all of the requirements 

    • 2. Obtain a visa/permission to enter from a consulate outside of Afghanistan (because all of the consulates in Afghanistan are closed)

General Process for Beneficiaries Outside the US
  • A U.S. citizen or green card-holder petitions for a relative by submitting a petition along with proof of the relationship

  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may ask for additional proof of the relationship

  • When the petition is approved, it is forwarded to Department of State (DOS), which will collect additional evidence of identity and eligibility

  • The beneficiary of the petition completes a visa application and provides all requested evidence to DOS and then attends an interview at a U.S. consulate

  • The consulate should either approve or deny the visa.

General Process for Beneficiaries Inside the U.S.
  • Similar to the process for beneficiaries outside the U.S., except that a green card application form is filed with DHS instead of a visa application with DOS

  • Whether the green card application is filed concurrently with the petition, or at a later date depends upon the specific family relationship and the Visa Bulletin (discussed below)


A successful family-based application should show: 
  • 1. Proof of the relationship 

  • 2. Eligibility to enter the U.S. 

    • Most eligibility issues are addressed in the second stage of the case by the Department of State or one of its consulates

    • You have to be outside of Afghanistan to finish the second step because there are no operating consulates in Afghanistan

Who can petition for family members? 
  • Citizens can petition for specific family members via Form I-130

  • Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), also known as green card-holders, can petition for specific family members via Form I-130

  • People who have been granted asylum can petition for certain family members

  • Under normal circumstances if you are in the U.S. under the status of Humanitarian Parole (HP) or  Temporary Protected Status (TPS) you may not petition for family members. However, DOS has made some exceptions: 

    • DOS allows for Afghans with HP or TPS to apply for family members (limited to spouses and unmarried children under 21 only!) by filling out DS4317. 

      • Check with your legal representative to see if you are eligible because there may be other avenues

  • There is no way to petition for anyone outside of these categories

Roles terminology

Petitioner and Sponsor
  • Petitioner must file for the family member they would like to bring to the U.S. 

    • They must show proof of connection with the individual 

  • The sponsor must also show proof that they can financially support their family member without the family membering becoming a “public charge” or, in other words, falling below the poverty line

  • But if the sponsor does not have enough income a joint sponsor can be added

  • Oftentimes the petitioner is the only sponsor are the same person, but if a joint sponsor is added, the joint sponsor will also submit an affidavit of financial support form

  • The affidavit of financial support form is submitted along with proof of the sponsor’s income as part of the intending immigrant’s visa application

  • Other financial documents may be requested

Who is an Immediate Relative according to immigration law? 
  • Spouse of a United States citizen

  • Child of a United States citizen

  • Parent of adult United States citizen

  • There are no caps on visas for these categories of petitions. This means that if family members fall into one of these categories, the petitioner can file on their behalf and that family member does not have to wait for a visa to become available. The difference between Immediate Relatives and preference categories: there are caps for preference categories.

Preference Categories

  • 1 - Adult unmarried son or daughter of a United States citizen 

  • 2A - Spouse of a Legal Permanent Resident; Unmarried child of a Legal Permanent Resident 

  • 2B - Adult unmarried son or daughter of Legal Permanent Resident  

  • 3 - Married son or daughter of United States citizen  

  • 4 - Sibling of adult United States citizen  

Preference categories

Department of State Visa Bulletin 
  • Your priority date is the date you filed your petition, and that marks your place in queue. 

  • Be sure to ask your attorney or representative if your filing date is current, meaning if there are visas available for the kind of family visa from your specific country, 

  • Please note that if you fall into one of these family preference categories, waiting for a family visa may take a very long time depending on the country you are coming from.

  • The visa bulletin is how the government announces which visas are available every month.

  • Link:

Possible benefits

Possible benefits of family-based applications
  • In most cases family-based petitions are better options than processes like asylum:

    • Direct path to a green card

    • Some cases are one-step

    • Not discretionary! 

    • More likely to be successful than asylum (which involves a burden of proof and an interview, and which is discretionary) 

  • Example: the father of a United States citizen is paroled into the U.S. Most likely the best option for him is for his United States citizen child to petition for him as opposed to him applying for asylum.

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