If you are planning to help an immediate relative immigrate to the United States, the first step is often to file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. By filing this I-130 form, you will be naming yourself as the sponsor for your loved one. During this family petition process you will be required to prove that you have enough income and assets to support your family member. In some cases, the I-130 form can also be filed with an application for permanent residence (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).
If you are already a U.S. citizen, you can file a visa request for your immediate family members. Immediate relative visas are available for spouses, unmarried children younger than 21 years of age, adopted orphans, and even parents of a U.S. citizen who is over the age of 21 years old.
If you are not a U.S. citizen but are a lawful permanent resident of the United States, you may petition for your husband, wife, or children.