As the process unfolds, these new entries to the U.S. may be able to gain legal status in the country. 

The petition must originate from a U.S. citizen. 

Eligibility  

According to U.S. Citizenship petition opportunities exist for a range of relatives and relationships.  People who may benefit from a petition from a U.S. citizen include spouses, sons and daughters who are married or unmarried, parents and siblings. If the petition is granted, family members in these categories receive a Green Card for permanent residence. Required forms for this process could include Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status or Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. A U.S. citizen can also petition for a Fiancé(e) visa for a fiancé(e) residing outside the U.S. as well as children under 21 of the engaged person. Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) is the pertinent form. 

Time frame 

The U.S. Citizenship website has guidance on how to complete the petition process and how long the process could take. The time frame varies depending on several factors, but immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are “always” available and family members should not have to wait in line. Completion of Forms I-485 and I-130 are required. Preference categories apply to family members who do not quality as immediate family. The order of preference is as follows: unmarried adult sons and daughters (over 21 years of age), spouses of Green Card members and unmarried children (under 21) of permanent residents.