Do you wish to immigrate to the US and wonder if you can have more than one person petition on your behalf?
Any foreign national who has more than one close relative that is a US citizen or permanent resident and/or will be working for more than one employer can choose to have multiple petitioners throughout the green card application process.
There are rules and regulations depicting the family relationships that potentially qualify someone to petition for an immigrant to receive a green card but any or all of the relatives who qualify are able to serve as the petitioner(s). There are also various circumstances that allow for multiple employers to petition on behalf of a foreign national wishing to work in the US. Any number of relative(s) and employer(s) are able to file a petition for a single immigrant as long as they meet the necessary qualifications.
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Depending on the familial relationship, the length of time it will take to get a green card through different family members can vary drastically. If an immigrant has an immediate relative that is a US citizen it is often in their best interest to apply in the immediate relative category to speed up the process. Immediate relatives include spouses, parents, or unmarried children of US citizens. In this category no annual limits apply therefore the application will be processed as quickly as the government allows.
If the immigrant does not have a family member considered an immediate relative, it is worth it to figure out which family relationship will get them a greed card the fastest. The preference categories and priority dates are available monthly in the Visa Bulletin published by the US State Department.
All immigrants who do not have immediate relative US citizens to petition for them will be placed in the relevant preference category. These have annual numerical limits that cause the waiting times for available visas to reach over ten years in certain categories. In these cases it is beneficial for the immigrant to have more than one petitioner file on their behalf because their circumstances are likely to change over time.
When an immigrant is planning on coming to the US to work for more than one employer there are multiple options when it comes to petitioning. According to US regulations, each employer must file a separate petition unless the two or more employers choose to share responsibility for the employee. In these cases, one of the employers must designate themselves as the main employer.
The immigrant has nothing to lose and everything to gain in having more than one US petitioner. Having multiple petitioners can be a crucial back up plan in the event of divorce, death, loss of job or any other change in circumstances. If a person wishing to immigrate to the US has multiple qualified relatives and/or employees willing to petition on their behalf they should consult a qualified immigration attorney to determine the best approach.
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening a firm specializing exclusively in US immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.