Many immigrants in Chicago and across the country have been concerned about changes to U.S. immigration rules, as many of them seem to make it more difficult to support their family members joining them in the United States. However, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced one reform that could make it easier for people to apply for family immigration. When people become U.S. citizens after having their green cards, they often want to help sponsor their loved ones to join them.

In order to start the process, people must file Form I-130, also called a Petition for Alien Relative. This petition must be submitted first along with proof establishing the relationship between the applicant and the person they want to sponsor. Only after this initial form is approved can the relative apply for a green card. USCIS said that it was now making the form available for online filing and digital completion, given that it is one of the most widely used forms in the immigration system. The first step to proceeding with an online family immigration application is creating an online account.

The form can be completed online, which can help to prevent problems with poorly understood text or errors on the form. After it is submitted, the Department of Homeland Security verifies the application. Applicants must then wait to receive a visa number, at which point they can apply for a green card. If the relative is already in the country, they can use Form I-485 to adjust their status, but if they are outside, they must apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate.

Navigating the U.S. immigration system can be challenging for many people, especially given the changing laws. An immigration law attorney may help people to complete their applications successfully and move forward with family immigration.