How do you sponsor a family member to immigrate to the United States?
If you are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, you may be able to sponsor certain family members to immigrate to the United States. Petitioning for a family member can be a complicated process that requires numerous forms, documents, and meeting certain requirements. Hiring an experienced immigration attorney can make the process smoother and increase your chances of success.
Here is an overview of the steps required for this process:
1. Ensure that you are eligible to sponsor your family member: In order to sponsor a family member,
you must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident. You must also meet certain income
requirements, which vary depending on your household size. At Casas Immigration, Ltd. we specialize in family immigration and have an in-depth understanding of the laws, regulations, and procedures that apply to the family immigration process. We will provide you with the most up-to-date information on the process and will guide you every step of the way.
2. Determine which family member(s) you can sponsor: A U.S. citizen can sponsor his or her spouse,
parents, siblings, sons and daughters. However, a legal permanent resident can only sponsor his or her
spouse and unmarried children. It is important to consult with an immigration attorney in order to
understand the different wait times for each type of petition and discuss long-term strategies. For
example, some legal permanent residents may choose to naturalize (or become a U.S. citizen) in order
to petition for certain family members.
3. File the appropriate forms: Once you’ve determined which family member(s) you can petition for,
you’ll need to file the appropriate forms with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This
will typically include Form I-130, as well as any supporting documents required, which will vary based on the types of case. Any errors or missing information can delay or even sabotage an approval. An immigration attorney can help ensure that the proper forms are filed, and that the correct documentation is included, which can increase your chances of success.
Communication with USCIS and other officials: Immigration attorneys may communicate directly with USCIS and other government officials on behalf of their clients. This can help resolve issues and clarify any questions or concerns that arise during the application process. If a family member’s immigrant visa petition is denied or if there are problems during the process, an immigration attorney can quickly advise you regarding next steps, which could include appealing the decision or exploring other available options and alternatives.
4. Wait for approval: After you’ve filed the necessary forms and supporting documentation, you’ll need
to wait for USCIS to approve your petition. Depending on the visa category and other factors, this can
take from a few months to several years or longer.
5. Begin the visa application process: Once your petition has been approved and the priority date is
current (i.e. you’ve reached the front of the line), your family member will need to apply for a visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country. This will typically involve submitting additional forms and supporting documents, as well as undergoing a medical examination and an interview. If an interview or hearing is required during the visa application process, your immigration attorney can help
prepare the applicant for the interview, provide general guidance and advise the applicant on how to
answer certain questions.
6. Wait for visa approval: After the visa application has been submitted and your family member has
attended the consular interview, you will need to wait for the visa to be approved. This can take a few
days to a few months or longer, depending on the specific circumstances of the case.
7. Welcome your family member to the United States: Once the immigrant visa has been approved,
your family member can travel to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. After a few years
(typically 3 or 5), they can begin the process of applying for U.S. citizenship if desired.
Sponsoring a family member to immigration to the U.S. can be a lengthy, confusing and complicated process, but it can also be a rewarding way to bring your loved ones closer to you. If you’re considering sponsoring a family member to immigrate to the U.S., it’s important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to guide you through the process and help ensure a successful outcome. At Casas Immigration, we take pride in bringing families together and would love to be your guide in this process.