Our relationships with family members are some of the most important, vital connections we have in life. An extended separation from loved ones can be devastating, which is why many U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents desire to sponsor immigration visas for overseas relatives so they can be reunited as promptly as possible. However, there are very specific rules regarding the sponsorship of immigration visas. In today's blog post, we'll discuss some of the laws regarding sponsorship of a relative's immigration visa.
Immediate Relative Immigration Visas
The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) specifies two groups of family-based immigration visas under which a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) may sponsor an overseas relative. The first is an Immediate Relative Immigration Visa. This unlimited visa category is specifically for U.S. citizens sponsoring their immediate relative, such as a spouse, their unmarried child under age 21, their parents, or an orphan they have adopted abroad.
Family Preference Immigration Visas
The second category of family-based immigration visas in the U.S. is called Family Preference Immigration Visas. This limited visa category is reserved for U.S. citizens sponsoring their unmarried adult children, or LPRs sponsoring their spouse, minor children, or unmarried adult children. U.S. citizens may also sponsor their married sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, their spouses, and minor children. There are a limited number of these visas issued each year, and the waiting lists can be up to 17 years long.
Petitioners must be U.S. citizens or LPRs at least 18 years old, with a residence in the U.S. The proof of residence is needed in order to complete and submit the required Affidavit of Support, which demonstrates financial support for immigrating relatives. Additionally, the sponsoring U.S. relative may be a spouse, child, parent (including step-parent) or sibling, but immigration law prohibits grandparents, in-laws, cousins, aunts or uncles from sponsoring a relative's immigration visa.
The process of sponsoring a relative's immigration visa to the U.S. can be a lengthy and complex ordeal, made much more complicated by the myriad of applications, fees, interviews and other legal requirements. Individuals interesting in sponsoring a relative's immigration visa have a higher chance of successfully securing their relative's immigration visa when they have an experienced, efficient legal team on their side. Christiansen Law Firm is a Texas-based immigration law firm with extensive experience helping clients with all facets of the immigration process. The Immigration Law attorneys of Christiansen Law Firm can assist with family-based immigration, naturalization, adoption, divorce, deportation and appeals. Contact Christiansen Law Firm at our Houston or San Antonio offices to schedule an appointment, or go online to request additional information.