Immigration Lawyer’s Tips on Sponsoring a Family Member for Green Card

There are many known ways by which an individual can become a permanent resident or a Green Card holder in the United States. Some of the most frequent are through the Green Card lottery, investment in the U.S., asylum or refugee status and family membership. Many people still consider the easiest way to get your Green Card is through the sponsorship of an US citizen family member. According to the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), this allows a citizen to sponsor a petition for an eligible family member so they can permanently move and work in the U.S.

If you are considering this, you should really seek help from a specialized immigration lawyer. Here are a few things to consider before applying:

1)    Who does it apply to?

Immediate relatives of the U.S. citizens qualify, such as parents (provided the citizen is 21 years old or older), spouses (wife or husband) and unmarried children (who aren’t 21 years old yet).

This applies to the immediate relative category, but there are also other ways. You can be sponsored under a family preference category and this includes:

–       Children who are not married and over 21 years of age

–       Siblings (above the age of 21)

–       Married children (there is no age limit applied here)

2)    Who is given special priority?

Generally, the USCIS permits a US citizen to sponsor immediate relatives in order to promote family values and unity. So, if you are an immediate relative of an U.S. citizen, you are given special priority and you won’t have to wait to get your visa.

3)    What are the first steps to take?

A Green Card holder or U.S. citizen will have to first file a petition, by filling in form I-130. If there are more relatives that person is trying to petition for, separate forms should be filled out for each individual. This petition will require the U.S. citizen to provide undeniable proof of status; a proof of birth or naturalization. A certificate of citizenship issued by USCIS will be required. Also, as a permanent resident, you will be asked for a copy of your Green Card. Additional steps will have to be taken in order to prove the relationship with the sponsored person, such as original and photocopied proof in the form of marriage or birth certificates and so on.

There are many other things you should consider when sponsoring someone to get a Green Card visa to the United States, as your immigration attorney will inform you. As a full-rights citizen, if you would like to sponsor one of your relatives who does not currently reside in the US, you will have to apply for Consular processing. If that relative already lives in the States, there will be an Adjustment of Status to apply for, and in some cases, Consular processing will also be required.

If you would like the process to be fast and efficient, it is not enough to look for online forms and apply. In most cases, a specialized immigration lawyer with a proven track record will be able to help you assess your particular situation, help you with the required paperwork and make sure everything will go smooth.