How do You Prove Your Family Relationship? (to File an Immigration Petition)

petition for alien relative
As a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who has family members living outside the United States, you can file petitions to help them immigrate. But there are some documents that you and them need to show to prove that there is a family relationship between you and the beneficiary or beneficiaries.

Which are those Documents? Are They the Same for All Cases?

There are particular documents for each case. Let’s go over some common cases and which are the documents you will need for each one. You have to remember that US Citizens and lawful permanent residents have different categories for family members that they want to sponsor. Click here to quickly review the table.

Filing for Your Spouse:

If you are trying to file a petition for your spouse you’ll need to first add a copy of your marriage certificate. If either you or your spouse were previously married, you need to submit copies of documents showing that each of the prior marriages was legally terminated. You must also submit two identical color passport-style photographs of yourself and your spouse (if he or she is in the United States) taken within 30 days of filing the petition. In addition to the required documentation listed above, you should submit documentation that proves you have a bona fide marriage.

Filing for Your Child:

If you are filing the petition for your child or children and you are the mother, you need to submit a copy of the child’s birth certificate showing your name and the name of your child. If you are the father of the child, you’d also need a copy of the child’s birth certificate but it has to show both parents’ names. It is also a must to file the marriage certificate of the child’s mother, and proof of legal termination of the parents’ prior marriages, if any, issued by civil authorities.

Filing for Siblings:

To prove your relationship with a sibling file a copy of your birth certificate and a copy of your sibling’s birth certificate proving that you have at least one common parent.

Filing for Your Parents:

If you are filing the petition for your mother you have to submit a copy of your birth certificate showing your name and your mother’s name. If you are filing for your father, file a copy of your birth certificate showing the names of both parents. Also submit a copy of your parents’ marriage certificate establishing that your father was married to your mother. If either your mother or father were previously married, submit copies of documents showing that each of the prior marriages were legally terminated. It’s worth noting that if your petition is based on a stepparent-stepchild relationship, you must file your petition with a copy of the marriage certificate of the stepparent to the child’s natural parent showing that the marriage occurred before the child turned 18 years of age, copies of documents showing that any prior marriages were legally terminated (if applicable), and a copy of the stepchild’s birth certificate.

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