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Sponsoring a family member for U.S. permanent residence - a Green Card.

I have a passion for helping to reunite families in the U.S.

Both U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents can sponsor their family members to come and live in the U.S. permanently. U.S. Citizens can sponsor their parents, spouse, children (over and under 21) and siblings. LPRs can sponsor their children and their spouse.

How quickly they can come depends on whether there is a visa immediately available. Visa availability depends on who the sponsor is, who the beneficiary family member is, and the country that is chargeable to the visa (usually the beneficiary's country of origin). For example, here is no wait for a visa for a spouse, the children (under age 21), or the parents of a U.S. citizen - they are considered Immediate Relatives. Immediate Relatives have an unlimited number of visas for their particular categories to promote family unity.

Other categories may require a wait from several months to several years. You can view the categories and the visa availability timeline at the Department of State's website.

Is a waiver necessary?

Obtaining an immigrant visa involves several forms, an interview, and a medical exam. In addition, the beneficiary must not be "inadmissible" under the current immigration law. If a beneficiary is "inadmissible" because of a criminal history, past immigration violations, or other issues, a waiver may be required to proceed with the visa process.

Adjustment of Status or Consular Process?

Once the visa is available, the beneficiary may go through Consular Processing, usually in their home country's U.S. embassy. If the beneficiary family member is already in the U.S., and is eligible to Adjust Status, they may be given an interview and granted their Green Card/LPR status in the U.S. Both mechanisms have pros and cons.

Affidavit of Support

To sponsor a family member immigrating to the U.S., certain income and eligibility criteria must be met and submitted using I-864 - Affidavit of Support.

The Affidavit of Support is a contract between the family member petitioning for, and sponsoring an immigrant, and the U.S. government. The petitioner/sponsor promises to financially support the immigrant if the immigrant cannot support himself or his family, or to pay the government back if the immigrant receives need-based public assistance (often called welfare).

The sponsoring relative must be able to show a that he or she has income or assets that reach at least 125% of the federal Poverty Guidelines levels for a family of the appropriate size. This includes everyone living in the sponsor's household as well as the primary immigrant and his or her spouse or children if they are immigrating at the same time. The percentage drops to 100% for families living in Alaska or Hawaii.

If the sponsor cannot meet the income guidelines, they can use a joint sponsor or assets to meet the requirements.

I love bringing families together and will help you. Contact me if you have a family member you are interested in sponsoring to discuss your options.

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