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Bringing Relatives to the United States

Last Updated October 2014

New Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program begins January 2015

See the USCIS flier for information:

2nd flier from USCIS: Be careful of immigration scams.

Created May 2010

DHS To Implement Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program

Created May 2010

I am a U.S. citizen. Can I apply to bring my sister here from Haiti?

Yes, but she will still have to wait for a visa to become available to her. U.S. Citizens (USC) and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) can apply to sponsor certain relatives for lawful permanent resident status. US Citizens can petition for spouses, parents, children, and siblings.  Your children can be married or unmarried and it does not matter how old they are. LPRs can petition for spouses and unmarried children (whether under or over twenty one years of age).  This involves a two-step process.  First the USC or LPR files a petition with USCIS in which she must establish her own status and her relationship to the relative who would like to immigrate. Next the relative who would like to immigrate applies for permanent resident status, either through adjustment of status in the United States or through an interview at the U.S. Consulate in the applicant’s country. Because there are a limited number or immigrant visas available in many categories, and more people want to immigrate than there are visas, there is often a lengthy wait between the approval of the initial petition and the date on which the applicant can apply to enter the country based on the petition.  For example, because there is a long line of people waiting for immigrant visas, the Haitian sister of a U.S. citizen can expect to wait approximately ten years after the filing of the initial petition before she will be eligible to apply for a green card. 

USCIS is expediting the processing of the initial petitions filed by USCs and LPRs for their relatives.  This affects only the first step of the process.  It does not affect the availability of immigrant visas, and people seeking to immigrate to the United States will still need to wait for a visa to become available.  Therefore, a sister of a USC can still expect to wait approximately ten years to enter the U.S. 

Source:  USCIS’s “How do I Help my Relative Become a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident”

I am an LPR, is there anything I can do to speed up the process to bring my children from Haiti now?

Yes, you can apply to become a U.S. citizen as soon as you are eligible to apply for naturalization. If you are a US citizen you can get a visa right away for your spouse, parents, and children if your children are unmarried and under twenty years old. Once you naturalize, you can ask the National Visa Center to upgrade the petition for your relative.

Source:  USCIS’s “Guide on Naturalization” // and National Visa Center //

I am a U.S. Citizen in the U.S. and have a U.S. citizen child in Haiti.  Do I just have to give notarized permission for someone to bring my child to the U.S.?

On February 19, 2010, commercial airlines began to fly to and from Haiti again and the U.S. government stopped helping people evacuate Haiti.  Commercial airlines can make special arrangements for children who need to fly alone , “unaccompanied minors.”  If your child does not have a U.S. passport, contact the U.S. Embassy to make an appointment to apply for a passport.

Source:  Department of State //

Will the person who brings my child to the US have a travel visa for a month?

Not necessarily. The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol will give the person who brings your child to the US permission to enter the United States for a specific amount of time. It may be for a month or more likely for six months. They will write down the date at which the person must leave the United States on an I-94 card.

Source:  Department of State //

The person bringing my child to the US has a travel visa that expires in six months. What can she do if she wants to stay?

If you have a B2 visa, you can ask for an “extension” so that you are allowed to remain in the United States for an additional six months or you can ask to change your immigration status. If you want to change your immigration status, speak to an experienced immigration attorney about your options. You would use the same form for either choice – Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Statue (Form I-539).

Source:  USCIS

I am a U.S. citizen.  Can I go to Haiti and bring as many people as I want back with me?

No.  The earthquake has not changed the process to bring relatives to the United States, You must file an application with USCIS and have prior approval from Department of Homeland Security(DHS) and the State Department.  DHS has stated that Haitian nationals without proper documentation will be returned to Haiti. 


The State Department has ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Haiti and strongly urges U.S. citizens not to travel to Haiti. If you decide to travel to Haiti, please register your trip with the State Department //  

Source:  Department of State // and U.S. Embassy in Port au Prince Haiti - //

I already applied for someone before January 12, 2010, can I just go to Haiti and get the person?

No.  The earthquake has not changed the process to bring relatives to the United States. The U.S. Embassy has begun to process immigrant and non-immigrant visas again. The schedule and procedure has changed. Check the embassy’s website //

Source:  Department of State //

If I go through the Dominican Republic, can I bring my family members to the United States?

No.  If your family goes through the Dominican Republic to get to the United States, it only means they will need to get a visa to enter the Dominican Republic as well as applying to the USCIS for a visa to enter the United State.  You must file an application with USCIS and have prior approval from Department of Homeland Security and the State Department before your relatives can leave Haiti and enter the United States.  DHS has stated that Haitian nationals without proper documentation will be returned to Haiti.

Source:  Department of State //

Will USCIS speed up the immigration process for all Haitians?

After the earthquake, USCIS decided to review all pending applications relating to Haitian nationals.  They are working hard to make decisions on pending applications such as the Application for Naturalization (Form N-400), the Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) and the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485) for individuals, who will have a visa immediately available to them.  There has been no change in the process when a visa is not immediately available - like petitions for siblings. USCIS cannot currently change the priority date for making visas available any sooner.

Source:  USCIS Relief Measures Questions and Answers

Can I go to the Haitian consulate office in Boston to get a passport for my relatives in Haiti so that they can come over to the U.S?

You can phone the General Consulate of Haiti in Boston at (617) 266-3660 or email them  [email protected].  However, the Haiti Embassy in Washington, DC normally handles requests for passports and identification documents. 

Source:  Embassy of Haiti //

Get Legal Help

Before you talk to USCIS always speak with an Immigration Specialist.

Get Legal Help

Before you talk to USCIS always speak with an Immigration Specialist.


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