Sponsoring a loved one’s immigration to the United States can feel like a daunting task, but it is possible. If you immigrated to the U.S. or were born here, sponsoring a family member may be an option.
The Process of Sponsoring a Family Member: Key Factors
As you look into the process of sponsoring someone, here are some key things to keep in mind:
- It’s a complex task that can take a long time. Sponsoring someone for immigration requires extensive paperwork and often takes months to complete. A simple paperwork mistake can mean even more delay or outright denial. To help ensure that the process goes smoothly, it’s a good idea to seek guidance from an experienced immigration attorney.
- You must meet certain financial requirements. Sponsors are financially responsible for their loved ones until those loved ones are self-sufficient. This can be a huge financial commitment, and eligibility for sponsorship requires meeting a minimum income threshold.
- You’ll need to stay updated. Immigration law is constantly changing. Sponsors have to keep themselves updated on the most recent developments by staying in touch with their lawyers throughout the process.
Two Categories of Family-Based Immigrant Visas
You can’t sponsor just any family member. There are two categories of family-based immigrant visas. The category your loved one qualifies for depends on their relationship to you:
- Immediate relative visas are for close family members of U.S. citizens, including spouses, unmarried children under 21, or parents. An unlimited number of visas is available for this category.
- Family preference visas are for other relatives of U.S. citizens, including married children, siblings or cousins, as well as for the spouses and unmarried children under 21 of legal permanent residents (Green Card holders).
Steps to Apply for Permanent Residency for a Family Member
The United States government’s process starts with filing Form I-130 to apply for permanent residency for a family member. Each person you sponsor needs a separate I-130, and you can file it by mail or online.
The process is different depending on where your loved one lives. If they’re already living in the United States, you’ll be asking for “adjustment of status.” Adjustment of status is the process that you can use to apply for lawful permanent resident status (also known as applying for a Green Card).
If your loved one is living outside of the United States, the process is different. They will need to go through “consular processing.” Consular processing involves applying in the U.S. Department of State consulate abroad for an immigrant visa in order to come to the United States and be admitted as a permanent resident.
Sponsoring a Loved One? You Don’t Have to Go It Alone.
If you’re seeking to sponsor someone you love, you don’t have to figure it out alone. Dallas immigration attorney Mark E. Jacobs can guide you through the immigration sponsorship process. For a consultation, call today at 972-445-7577 or send a message.