The Easiest Way to Immigrate to the United States of America


The Easiest Way to Immigrate to the United States of America

Moving to the United States is a dream for many across the globe. America has long been known as the land of opportunity and attracts immigrants with its values of freedom, democracy and a chance to achieve the 'American Dream' through hard work and determination. While there are several avenues for legal immigration to the U.S., some pathways are generally easier than others. This article will focus on the easiest option for most people - getting a green card through family relationships.

Family-Based Immigration - The Clearest Path

One of the most straightforward ways to get U.S. permanent residency or a 'green card' is through family relationships with a close relative who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. This is known as family-based immigration. Under U.S. immigration law, citizens and permanent residents can sponsor certain family members and help them immigrate faster and more easily.

The categories for family sponsorship are -

  • Spouses of U.S. citizens
  • Unmarried children under 21 years of age of U.S. citizens
  • Parents of adult U.S. citizens
  • Married adult children of U.S. citizens.
  • Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens

The most immediate and easiest path is for the first three categories - spouses, young children and parents of citizens. They are considered 'immediate relatives' and get high priority. There are no limits on the visas available to them. The waiting time is also relatively short, averaging 5-10 months. Parents usually have the longest waits due to higher demand. But even that is typically less than 2 years. Let's look at each of these three priority family relationships in more detail:

Spouses of U.S. Citizens

Marriage to an American citizen is one of the fastest ways for foreign nationals to get a green card. The citizen spouse just has to demonstrate the following:

  • The marriage is legal and legitimate.
  • They can financially support their spouse at 125% above the U.S. poverty level
  • They have suitable accommodation for their spouse.
  • Spouse must pass medical exams and background checks

The foreign spouse, once the conditions are met, can apply for a marriage-based green card by submitting Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) and Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Total processing time typically ranges from 6-12 months from submission to approval. The foreign spouse can also get a work permit within 90 days of filing the paperwork.

Once the green card is approved, the new permanent resident can live and work anywhere in the U.S. and also travel internationally with few restrictions. After 5 years as a permanent resident, they become eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship too.

Minor Children of U.S. Citizens

American citizens can also directly sponsor their unmarried children below 21 years of age fairly easily. The process is mostly the same as spousal sponsorships. The main requirements are:

  • Establishing a legitimate parent-child relationship (birth certificate and custody documents)
  • Demonstrating financial ability to support the child
  • Proving suitable housing in the U.S. for the child
  • Child must clear medical examination and background screening

Here too Form I-130 and Form I-485 need to be submitted by the petitioning parent. Total application processing averages 6-10 months currently. These minor children also get speedy access to worker permits and eventual citizenship rights.

Parents of Adult U.S. Citizens

American citizens who are 21 years or older can sponsor their parents (father and/or mother) to become permanent residents once the parents turn 21 themselves. The sponsoring son/daughter must demonstrate:

  • Their U.S. citizenship status
  • A genuine parent-child relationship
  • Adequate income (at least 125% of poverty level) to support their parents financially
  • Secure housing for parents to reside in once in the U.S.

The parents being sponsored should be admissible to the U.S. as per standard rules. Common disqualifiers include criminal history, security risks, and certain communicable diseases.

Currently, the processing time frame is typically 12-24 months for parental green card cases. This category is high volume, so patience and diligence is required. Approval leads to lifetime permanent residency and path to U.S. citizenship.

Advantages of Family-Based Immigration

Pursuing a green card through family sponsorship has many benefits compared to other visa types:

  • No annual numerical limits - no waiting for years due to quotas
  • Less paperwork than employment-based green cards
  • Lower income requirements
  • Guaranteed lifetime validity of status
  • Can work for any employer and change jobs freely
  • Get access to many public benefits
  • Can travel abroad more freely
  • Family member guides the application process
  • Leads to eligibility for U.S. citizenship

So if you have close family in America, it can make your immigration journey much smoother.

Step-by-Step Process for Family Green Cards

If you want to immigrate to the U.S. via family sponsorship, here is a summary of the typical process:

1. Determine eligibility - Make sure you have the required family relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and meet all other criteria.

2. Get supporting documents - Have birth certificates, marriage licenses, custody papers, photos, medical exam results, police reports, and other materials ready.

3. Complete forms - Work with your family sponsor and immigration lawyer to accurately fill out Form I-130 and Form I-485 plus supplements.

4. Submit petition - File paperwork either online or by mail with USCIS and include all required initial evidence.

5. Get biometrics done - Attend your local USCIS Application Support Center appointment for fingerprints and photographs.

6. Interview - Most family-based applicants are called for an in-person interview by USCIS officers before approval. Answer thoroughly.

7. Decision - You will receive an approval, request for additional evidence, or denial in the mail from USCIS based on your case.

8. Receive green card - If approved, your actual green card will arrive in the mail within a few weeks. Welcome to America!

9. Renewal - Make sure to renew your green card every 10 years and fulfill residency requirements to keep your status current.

With proper completion of this streamlined process, your dream of immigrating to the U.S. through family can become reality.

Potential Challenges to Overcome

Despite the easier process, there can still be some hurdles with family green card applications like:

  • Longer waits and backlogs, especially for parents and siblings
  • Burdensome paperwork that must be error-free and complete
  • High government fees and attorney costs
  • Need to provide extensive documentation as proof
  • Medical inadmissibility or criminal record issues
  • Overcoming suspicion of marriage fraud in spousal cases
  • Avoiding unauthorized employment before approval

Staying patient, organized, honest and law-abiding can help overcome these obstacles.

Alternatives and Exceptions

While family relationships offer the clearest path, there are some alternatives and exceptions worth mentioning:

Refugees - People fleeing persecution can get asylum in the U.S. and later apply for a green card.

Investors - $900,000+ investments in a U.S. business creating 10+ jobs can warrant a green card.

Diversity visa - The green card lottery allows immigration from underrepresented countries.

Special skills - People of extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics may qualify.

But for most people without direct family connections or special attributes, family-based immigration remains the easiest option.


Immigrating to America is a major decision that involves time, effort and paperwork. But the process becomes much more feasible when you have close family members in the U.S. willing to sponsor you. Spouses, minor children and parents of American citizens have preferred pathways. While every case is unique, following the steps outlined and getting expert guidance can help make your green card application through family smooth and successful. With perseverance and patience, you can be on your way to joining your loved ones in the U.S. permanently.