Family Immigration Frequently Asked Questions

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Family Immigration Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Family-Based Immigration?

Family-based immigration encompasses on gaining permanent residency through the help of family relations. Usually, a United States citizen or permanent resident will apply for an immigration petition with the board of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The one who files the petition is commonly referred to as the “sponsor.” The foreigner, in this case, a relative for whom the immigration petition is filed is known as the “Beneficiary.”

What Is The USCIS?

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is an agency of the United States government that is essentially responsible for dealing with foreigners living in or migrating into the country. The agency has jurisdiction over immigration petitions and applications for Family Based Immigration. In short, the agency handles all matters concerning citizenship and immigration.

Who Can Be A Sponsor?

The best candidate for a sponsor would be a United States Citizen or a legal permanent resident. The sponsor has to meet some legal obligations and requirements in order to pass as a good candidate. The sponsor is then required to provide proof that he or she will support the beneficiary with standards of living not lower than 125% of the national poverty level. This ensures the well-being of the beneficiary once in the country. This obligation has to be relevant until the beneficiary becomes a United States citizen or has been working in the country for forty qualifying quarters.

Following are some unique cases of what qualifies one to be a sponsor:

Case 1

You and your wife are aliens working in the United States and have a child born in the United States which makes him or her a United States citizen. Can the child file an immigration petition for the parents?

Most parents are faced with this kind of problem. Well, the answer is no, the child cannot file an immigration petition until he attains the age of 21.

Case 2

A permanent resident born out of the country wishes to be reunited with his/her parents. Does he/she qualify to be a sponsor?

In this case, a legal permanent resident is not eligible to petition to move the parents to work and live with permanent status in the United States.

Who Can Be A Beneficiary?

A beneficiary can only be connected to the sponsor as an immediate relative. It includes parents, children and spouses of a United States Citizen. Children must be unmarried and below the age of 21. They are allowed to apply for permanent resident status without any restrictions.

However, the rest of the beneficiaries out of the mentioned bracket, are divided into various groups called preferences. Each preference is allocated a quota per year to control the admission of immigrants in the country.

What Documents are Required For a Family-Based Immigration Petition?

Whatever the relationship you have with the beneficiary, typical documents required include: a marriage license, birth certificate, certificate of naturalization, divorce decree, and adoption papers. The sponsor will also be required to provide W-2 forms and employment verification forms for recent years as proof of obligation. The beneficiary will also be required to produce a passport, medical examination report, visa, I-94, and photos.

Can New Immigrants Work in the United States?

If the beneficiary has already entered the United States and legally applied for permanent residency, he or she is in a position to apply for an Employment Authorization document within the same period. The beneficiary will be able to work legally in any profession three to four months after application while waiting for the green card.

Can the Beneficiary Travel Abroad While Waiting for the Green Card?

It may take up to two years for the beneficiary to receive a Green Card after the filing for adjustment of status due to the massive backlog in the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services databases. The beneficiary can apply for an Advance Parole that allows him or her to travel abroad without affecting the processing of the green card during the waiting time.

The only requirement for an Advance Parole is that the Beneficiary has maintained legal status and stayed out of crime throughout the stay in the country. 

What Happens to a U.S Citizen Who Has Been Out of Work But Wants to Sponsor a Spouse?

A successful sponsor has to be working and provide legit documents on his/her employment status. However, a United States citizen who has been working but halted but wants to sponsor the spouses’ green card application will have to get a co-sponsor to aid with the financial support.

What If a U.S Citizen Does Not Have an Income And Cannot Find a Co-Sponsor?

You could still support your spouse even in the absence of an income and a co-sponsor by providing evidence of valid assets, total household income as well as fulfiling the income eligibility requirement. Also, your spouse’s income can be included as part of your household income if she has been actively living in your home for the past six months.

For more information and help on Family Immigration based issues, you can contact us for professional assistance.