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Problems with Family-based Petitions

What are Family-based Petitions

Family based petitions allow United States citizens and legal permanent residents to sponsor their family members to immigrate to the United States. This process can be done with family members in the United States, as well as with family members outside of the United States. Family members who can be petitioned differ between U.S. citizen petitioners and Legal Permanent Resident petitioners.

United States citizens can sponsor spouses; unmarried children under 21; unmarried son or daughter over 21; married son or daughter of any age; siblings if the petitioner is at least 21 years of age; and parents if the petitioner is at least 21 years of age. Legal permanent residents may petition for spouses, unmarried child under 21, and unmarried son or daughter over 21. In all of these cases the petitioner must be able to prove their relationship to the person they are petitioning for.


Family based petitions help reunite families, and in the cases where the family members are already in the U.S. it helps keep them united. However, this process is not perfect and has some issues. One issue is its lack of security for the applicant. There is so guarantee that the application will be approved, and there is a fear of what could happen to the applicant. Some family based petitions require the family member being petitioned to leave the country. They may have to return to their home country for an interview at the United States consulate. The interview could go either way, and on the chance that it doesn’t go their way. In the chance that the interview does not go well they may have to stay in their home country, until they are able to go in for another interview.

Petitions could also be denied because of insufficient evidence of a relationship between the applicant and the petitioner. This “insufficient evidence” reason may be more applied to denied applications of cases where the petitioner and applicant are married. They have to show that they entered the relationship with good intentions. Evidence they could present includes their marriage license, bills with both their names, rental lease, and pictures together. If USCIS believes that enough evidence was not presented, they may deny the application and the petitioner and applicant will have to provide more evidence that USCIS will consider sufficient evidence.

Family-based petitions can be a great way to reunite families. They may come with some issues, but people should still take the chance and apply. Applicants that are denied can reapply, and the issues associated with these petitions often have solutions.

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