Can more than one U.S. citizen file a petition for the same immigrant? QUESTION “My brother, born in the United States, is about to turn 21. He wants to file an immigrant petition for my mother. My aunt already filed papers for my mother eight years ago. We were told my mother has to wait about 10 more years. One friend told us that my mother cannot have more than one petition. Another friend said my brother can still file for her and it will help her case go faster. “Can my brother help my mother or not?” ANSWER When your brother becomes 21, he can file a new petition for your mother. She does not have to choose between two petitions. The petitions do not cancel each other out. It is often beneficial to have different relatives file visa petitions for the same person. Here are three reasons why. First, a petitioner could pass away. If your mother’s sister passes away, her death will terminate the petition she filed. If that happens, your mother can seek humanitarian reinstatement. These requests are not always granted. Second, in marriage green card cases, a divorce might occur. Since you did not mention your father, this may not be a factor in your mother’s case. Third, speed of the permanent residency application process. Some immigrant petitions move faster to a green card. The speed is dictated, in part, by the family relationship. Petitions filed by U.S. sons and daughters for parents move far faster than petitions filed by U.S. brothers and sisters for their siblings. This means a petition filed by your brother for your mother will move faster than your aunt’s paperwork. Even with your aunt’s eight-year head start, your brother’s petition will get your mother to the interview stage faster. Yet, simply because an immigrant can move forward sooner does not mean it is in his or her best interests to do so. This raises another important issue. How did your mother enter? With or without inspection and authorization? If she entered the U.S. without inspection and is still living in the U.S., she may have to return home for her green card interview. Depending on how long she has lived here, she will need to file for a family unity waiver. The waiver, if approved, will allow her to re-enter the U.S. after her interview abroad. Winning such waivers is a tough process. In particular, your mother could face a problem due to the lack of a qualifying relative. This means your mother must show that certain family members would suffer an extreme hardship if she was not allowed to return to the United States. Brothers and sisters are not considered qualifying relatives. Sons and daughters are not considered qualifying relatives. Only U.S. citizen or permanent resident parents and spouses are qualifying relatives. Given these limits, your mother is likely not eligible to request a family unity waiver. Your brother does not qualify as your mother’s qualifying relative. Your aunt does not qualify as your mother’s qualifying relative. Since you did not mention your mother’s parents or husband, it seems they do not qualify as qualifying relatives. If this is your mother’s situation, she needs to proceed forward with great caution. To be clear, this short answer only touches the tip of the iceberg in your mother’s pursuit of lawful permanent resident status. There are many other issues to explore. Don’t take unnecessary risks. Instead, discuss the full gamut of possible issues with a family immigration lawyer.