accompanying relative

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An accompanying relative, or immediate relative, is a family member of a person who has immigrated to the United States. An example of an accompanying relative could be the children of an immigrant who have not reached the age of majority, as well as unmarried spouses of an individual who has immigrated to the United States. Individuals who are legally permitted to immigrate to the United States, are eligible for Visa applications and/ or Green Card. Their accompanying relatives, by association, would also be eligible for such status. 

In Turfah v. United States Citizenship & Immigration Services 2016, it was argued that the child of a parent who has been granted an immigrant visa is entitled to the same status if “accompanying or following to join: the parent (8 US.C. S1153(d)).” However, it was also argued that "[a]n ‘accompanying relative may not precede the principal alien to the United States 22 C.F.R. S40.1(a)(2).”  The petitioner in this case entered the United States twenty-four days before his father and therefore failed to meet the legal requirements. As a consequence, the petitioner’s admission to the United States was procedurally defective. In the present case, USCIS contends that Petitioner was not "lawfully admitted for permanent residence." The regulation states that an accompanying relative with a derivative visa may not precede the principal visa holder into the United States. 22 C.F.R. S40.1(a)(2). 

Other cases such as Matter of Khan, 1971, also confirm that "[a] accompanying relative may not precede the principal alien to the United States", concluding that "the validity of respondent's immigrant visa depended on the continued immigrant status of his father, the principal alien."

[Last updated in December of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]