Generally, family based immigration is the cheapest and easiest way to permanently immigrate to the United States. This entails a US Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) petitioning for his or her fiancé, spouse, or minor child to immigrate to the United States. Siblings and children can also petition for their brothers and sisters and parents to immigrate, but it requires a slightly different process that may include a long waitlist depending on which country they are immigrating from.
The process begins by a US Citizen or LPR petitioning for approval to bring his or her relative into the United States. Once approval is given, then the immigrating relative must apply for the ability to enter the country. As noted above, spouses, fiancés, and minor children do not have to wait on a waitlist. The initial petition and application generally only requires standard information about the US Citizen and immigrant relative. However, it also requires the parties to gather a number of original or certified copies of documents; including birth certificates, divorce decrees or death certificates for former spouses, marriage certificates, police certificates, medical records, and financial information. Any documents not in English will need to be translated by a certified professional translator.
If spouses have been married for less than two years, there is an automatic presumption that the marriage is fraudulent. This simply requires the couple to produce more information regarding the legitimacy of their marriage, as well as only allows the immigrating spouse to obtain a conditional or temporary green card. After two years the couple may petition to remove that condition making the green card permanent.
For a US Citizen or LPR to petition for his or her fiancé to enter the country, the process is very similar to that of bringing a spouse into the county. The main difference is that the US Citizen or LPR must petition to bring his or her fiancé into the country for a three month window in which to get married. Once the marriage takes place, the immigrating spouse must then petition to remain in the county. The process from there is much the same as an immigrating spouse described above.
Before the immigration process is final a interview will take place at the immigrating relative’s nearest US Consulate or US immigration office. All the papers and documents necessary will need to be collected and filed before that time. If the interview goes well, the relative will be allowed to enter the United States for permanent residence or marriage, depending on the situation.