When families are separated from each other, they have to decide whether they want a family member to visit them or permanently live with them in the United States.

There are limitations as to who a family member can apply for to permanently live in the United States.


Who can apply for which family members?

  • Legal permanent residents can apply for minor children, unmarried adult children and spouses.
  • US citizens can apply for minor children, unmarried and married children, spouses, siblings and parents.


How much does it cost?

Families who decide they want their separated family members to live with them in the United States have to embark on an expensive and lengthy process. The government fees to apply for a single family member are $1,200; this does not include legal representation on their case, potential DNA test, and the flight ticket after the application is finished.


How long does it take?

This is the most important question for every separated family. There are different processing times for different relationship types. For example: a mother applying for a minor child could take around 2-3+ years, whereas a brother applying for his sister could take 15+ years.

The first stage of the process involves the U.S. government evaluating whether the relationship is real. The second stage of the process involves sending the application to the US Embassy in the country where the family members are living, and includes interviews with government officials to discuss their familial relationship.

If all goes well, the application will be approved and the family members will be able to reunite and live in the United States together permanently!


Written by Arrive Ministries Immigration Legal Services staff


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