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Family immigration: Who can you sponsor to come to the U.S.?

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2024 | Family-Based Immigration

In the United States, family-based immigration is a fundamental aspect of the country’s immigration system. Under certain conditions, it allows individuals to sponsor family members to join them in the U.S. This process is vital for reunifying families across international borders.

Understanding who is eligible to sponsor family members and which relatives can be sponsored is crucial in navigating this complex area of immigration law. It involves a clear comprehension of the roles and limitations of these laws.

Eligibility for sponsoring family members

The ability to sponsor family members for immigration is primarily granted to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. The scope of who they can sponsor differs significantly between these two categories.

U.S. citizens have a wider range of options in family sponsorship. They are eligible to sponsor their spouses, children, parents and siblings. An advantage for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens is that there is no annual limit on the number of visas available.

Lawful permanent residents have more limited options. They can sponsor their spouses and unmarried children, but they can’t sponsor parents or married children. Additionally, the number of visas available each year for relatives of LPRs is capped, often leading to longer waiting periods for these family members.

Requirements and process

Sponsoring family members requires meeting certain criteria. The sponsor must demonstrate sufficient financial stability to support their relatives in the U.S. This ensures that the sponsored individuals don’t become dependent on government assistance.

The sponsorship process begins with filing a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. This petition is fundamental in establishing the relationship between the sponsor and the sponsored relative.

Once the petition is approved and a visa becomes available, the sponsored relative can apply for it. For those outside the U.S., this involves processing through a U.S. embassy or consulate. Those already in the U.S. may be able to adjust their status to become lawful permanent residents.

Understanding who can sponsor, which relatives are eligible and the requirements of the process is essential for effectively navigating this aspect of immigration law. Seeking legal guidance concerning family-based immigration can minimize the stress of going through the process alone.