Family Visa Attorneys Serving Geneva
There are many ways foreign nationals can get visas to come to the United States to study, work, and live on a temporary basis. There are also options for foreign nationals to receive green cards and live in the U.S. permanently. One of these options is through a family-based immigration opportunity. In Wisconsin, we have a large population of foreign nationals who have been contributing to our neighborhoods and our economy for decades. Many of these foreign nationals have become green card holders (lawful permanent residents) or U.S. citizens. Some LPRs and U.S. citizens have family members back in their home country whom they want to bring to the United States. For help with uniting your family in this country, speak with a Geneva, IL. family visa lawyer at The Vergara Law Group. We will guide you carefully through the complicated process.
Bringing In a Family Member to the United States
You may be able to bring a family member to the United States by sponsoring him or her for a green card if you are an LPR or a U.S. citizen. Temporary visa holders cannot sponsor family members for green cards. However, only certain relatives qualify for family-based immigration petitions, and the relatives whom you can sponsor will depend on your own immigration status in the United States.
If you are an LPR, you generally can sponsor your spouse and your unmarried children. If you are a U.S. citizen, you generally can sponsor your parents, your spouse, your siblings, your fiancée, your unmarried children, and your married children.
In the context of immigration law, certain family relationships are viewed as having a higher priority than others. Therefore, some family members are exempt from the green card waiting lines and are automatically eligible to receive their green cards once U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves their family-based immigration petition. These relatives are called “immediate relatives” and include spouses of U.S. citizens, unmarried children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens, and parents of U.S. citizens who are at least 21. Unfortunately, no relatives of LPRs qualify as immediate relatives under current law.
The Family-Based Sponsorship Process
The basic process for filing a family-based petition is the same, regardless of whether the sponsor is an LPR or U.S. citizen and regardless of which type of relative is benefiting from the petition. The sponsor files an I-130 Petition with USCIS. The Petition must contain proof of the family relationship between the sponsor and the beneficiary. This could be a birth certificate if the sponsor is a parent, or a marriage certificate if the sponsor is a spouse.
Importantly, the petition must also contain proof that the beneficiary will not be a “public charge” in the United States. This means that the beneficiary will not be required to make use of public welfare programs to survive. To prove that the beneficiary will not become a public charge, the sponsor must include proof of the sponsor’s gainful employment or income, although the beneficiary’s employment and income can also be taken into consideration.
Explore Your Options -- Next Steps
Bringing a family member to the United States is an exciting opportunity, but it is also complicated and, in many cases, time-sensitive. By working with a knowledgeable immigration attorney The Vergara Law Group in Geneva, IL. LPRs and U.S. citizens can be assured that their relative’s case will be handled with the utmost care and professionalism.