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How To Sponsor Your Loved Ones To The US

Understanding How To Sponsor Your Loved Ones To The United States

Family-based immigration brings family members of United States citizens or permanent residents to the United States. Being separated from family can be tough, and sometimes, immigration laws create obstacles. However, maintaining close ties with family is often preferable whenever possible.

The United States values the importance of family bonds. If a family member resides outside the US, family-based immigration might be a solution for reuniting them with their family. You can submit a petition if your family member is outside the US. If approved, your family member could receive an immigrant visa.

This way, you can sponsor your loved ones in the US. This visa could eventually lead to permanent residency, also known as a green card. But what exactly is family-based immigration, and how does it function? Irrespective of whether you are a US citizen or a permanent resident, the procedure for obtaining an immigrant visa for your eligible family members remains the same.

Nonetheless, if a family member is living in the US, they will need to go through a procedure known as adjustment of status. This procedure can be quite extensive and complex, particularly when it involves getting green cards for those already in the US. This is why many people turn to an immigration attorney for help.

The time you have to wait can depend on several factors: whether your family member is living in the US and you are applying for a green card, your own immigration status, where the beneficiary lives (the beneficiary’s country), your family connections, and their personal circumstances.

Knowing these elements in advance can help plan and determine the different needs and the anticipated timeline. Here is some key information to guide you through bringing your family to the US.

Overview of the family-immigration process

If you are a resident of the US or hold a green card, you might have the opportunity to help a family member or close friend with their visa application. This is a frequently used method in the immigration process. As a US citizen or a permanent resident, you can begin by submitting a petition for a family member abroad (form I-130).

While there are other forms to complete, this is the initial step. Numerous family-based visa options are available. This will allow you to select the one that suits your needs and your family’s. Seeking advice from an immigration lawyer can provide more information on the best approach for your situation.

Who is eligible?

There is a widespread misconception that relocating to the US allows you to bring your entire family over and secure green cards for them. However, this isn’t the case. You cannot bring all your family members to the US or secure green cards for everyone outside the US.

Nonetheless, if you are a US citizen, you can file a family-based petition if the family member you are petitioning is either an immediate or a family preference relative.

This implies that you can petition to bring two primary groups of family members to the US: immediate family members and family preference relatives.

  • The first eligible group.

If you are an immediate relative of a US citizen, you are eligible for an immigrant visa and can start the application process immediately, bypassing the consular procedure. To be eligible, you must be at least 21 years old. Annual visa quotas do not limit immediate family members of US citizens.

For instance, if you are married and have children under 21, your parents (if you are 21 or older), and if you adopt a child who is either an orphan abroad or in the US, you can secure green cards for them as a US citizen.

  • The second eligible group.

Beneficiaries chosen by family preferences receive a visa once a year. This makes their waiting time extensive due to a yearly limit on the number of visas allocated. Each country is given a fixed quota of visas, leading to more applicants than available. This results in significant delays for individuals seeking a visa to move to the United States.

While some can patiently endure years of waiting, others may have to wait for decades. The family preference system is divided into four types. The initial category pertains to sons and daughters of US citizens. This is followed by the second category for green card holders’ spouses and minor children under 21 or adult children over 21 who are unmarried.

Children aged 21 or older are typically placed in Category 2B, which may necessitate a longer wait than for other immediate relatives in Category 2A. The third category includes the children of married US citizens, and the fourth category encompasses siblings of US citizens, their spouses, and their children.

If you benefit from a family priority, you must endure a lengthy visa wait. This is especially true if you are in a nation that highly values immigration. The waiting periods can span from a couple of months to several years. Consulting with an immigration lawyer can assist you in grasping your circumstances more clearly.

The application process

  • Filing the I-130 petition.

Submitting the I-130 petition marks the initial phase of the procedure. This document, issued by the USCIS, is free to download. For individuals who are US citizens or permanent residents, it is necessary to draft and submit the petition for an alien relative. For guidance on completing it, seek advice from an immigration lawyer.

On the I-130 form, a critical question pertains to the beneficiary’s intended destination for status adjustment (if they are legally present in the US, with some exceptions) or for the visa interview (at a US consulate or embassy in their home country).

Should they be outside the US, they are required to visit the closest US embassy or consulate that handles immigrant visas. This information is typically accessible on the US consulate website. When submitting an I-130 petition for a spouse, it is crucial to provide proof of your US citizenship or permanent residency status (for instance, a passport or a green card).

Additionally, it is important to demonstrate the legitimacy of your marriage to secure approval. For other applicants, you must present evidence of a familial bond with your beneficiary, such as a birth certificate. It is advisable to submit the I-130 form along with the I-864 form and other relevant documents.

Record all the materials you submit, including forms and documents. Upon receiving your I-130 petition and verifying its completion, USCIS will issue a receipt notice. Should they find the evidence you provided insufficient, they will issue an RFE (request for evidence). Upon fulfilling all the necessary criteria, you will receive a Notice of Approval specifying the case’s location.

  • The processes at the NVC.

If you are located outside the US or are a preference-seeking applicant, your case will be transferred to the NVC. They will manage your application until the waiting period concludes and visas become available. This is defined by the present priority date.

Beneficiaries are not authorized to enter the US immediately (unless they meet the criteria for another visa, although this might be a mistake, as US immigration could suspect they are merely seeking a fast route to the US with no intention of returning).

Once your application is submitted, it is considered your priority date. The US Department of State updates the priority date in the visa bulletin each month. The NVC will begin processing if a visa is immediately available or within reach because the intended applicant has a current priority date.

They will provide you with various forms and guidance. You may wish to seek assistance from an immigration lawyer to understand these forms and guidance. You must complete a new form, I-864, with all the required information and cover the associated costs.

You must complete form DS-260 (for the online immigrant visa application and alien registration form). After submitting all the necessary documents, passing through security screenings, and settling all the fees, your case will be forwarded to the consulate of the country listed on the sponsor’s I-130 petition as the beneficiary’s country.

Following this, you will be scheduled for a medical examination, a background check by the police, and a biometrics process. You will receive a notice for a personal interview upon completing these steps.

  • The interview process.

A consular representative must interview the person receiving benefits. Make sure to bring duplicates of all your submitted documents and any additional evidence proving your kinship with the sponsor. The representative is likely to inquire extensively about your bond with your sponsor.

They might ask about your health conditions, criminal records, and other relevant information. Should you be approved, you will receive a stamp on your passport. Typically, it takes a few weeks to stamp your passport after the visa interview. Navigating this process can be complex, but an immigration lawyer can guide your case smoothly.

Get help!

Witnessing families come together with their relatives in the US is truly remarkable. Yet, this journey can be draining and require much effort without proper assistance. That is why Gehi and Associates is here to assist.

We have dedicated ourselves to bringing families together in the US for several years and have accomplished remarkable outcomes. Our immigration lawyers are ready to assist you. If you have any inquiries or worries, please feel free to contact us!

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