Family-based immigration is a common way for people to enter the United States. Someone living in another country can obtain a visa, a green card or eventually even citizenship when they have an immediate relative in the United States.

Often, those entering the country with a visa can bring spouses and children with them. They may later help loved ones file the necessary paperwork so that they can enter the United States too. If you have sisters or brothers living abroad, you may desperately want to connect with your family members. Can you help your siblings enter the United States?

Your immigration status determines your options

There are different family-based immigration rights for different groups of people. Those entering the country on a visa will usually only be able to travel with spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21. Those who become permanent residents can potentially help older children and married children enter the country too.

Unfortunately, there is really only one immigration program for those who want to reconnect with their brothers and sisters. You need to be a United States citizen to legally help a sibling enter the country. Citizens can file a petition on behalf of relatives, including siblings, to help them secure a green card. They can then enter the United States already as permanent residents.

You might want to consider naturalizing to protect yourself and help your loved one come to the United States. Even if you were born in another country, naturalized citizenship will expand your family’s immigration options. Learning more about immigration rules can help you find programs that work for your family.