If a friend, family member, or another person close to you is looking to relocate to the United States on a permanent basis, you can help them achieve that by offering to sponsor them. This essentially means that you commit to helping the respective person or group of people by providing financial assistance if they require it.
The general purpose of this practice is to ensure that people who move to the U.S. have the financial means to integrate and thrive in their new environment. This article can help you understand the situations in which you can sponsor an immigrant and guide you on how to do it.
What Are Some Common Situations in Which Immigrants Require Sponsors?
There are multiple contexts in which a U.S. citizen may have to sponsor one or more immigrants looking to permanently relocate to the U.S. Some common ones are:
- Reuniting with family members: As a U.S. citizen, you can help your immediate relatives come and settle in the U.S. permanently. There are no limits to the number of visas issued each year for close relatives, such as spouses, parents, and unmarried children under the age of 21. However, visas for other types of relatives, such as married sons and daughters, cousins, and siblings, are limited on a per-year basis.
- Sponsoring a foreign worker: U.S.-based employers who want to hire workers from other countries may need to sponsor them for work visas. These are usually temporary, meaning that if a worker wants to reside in the U.S. on a permanent basis, they may require sponsorship from a U.S. citizen.
- Sponsoring diversity visa lottery winners: The U.S. provides a limited number of immigration visas to people from countries with historically low rates of immigration through the Diversity Immigrant Visa program. The process is similar to family-based immigration, and the eligible foreigners are selected through a lottery-based system.
What Are the Steps You Can Take To Sponsor an Immigrant?
Consider following these general steps to sponsor an immigrant seeking permanent residency in the U.S. For more specific and in-depth information, contact a professional, such as the award-winning immigration lawyers at De Castroverde.
Make Sure You Match All Requirements for Sponsoring Immigrants
People who wish to sponsor foreign citizens looking to relocate to the U.S. permanently must meet some requirements. The general requirements for family-based and other types of non-employment immigration are:
- Being a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
- Living in the U.S. and being at least 18 years old.
- Having an income level of at least 125% of the U.S. poverty-level income.
- Having a relationship with the immigrant that justifies the request.
File a Petition With United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
After determining that you are indeed eligible to become a sponsor, you can start the process by filing a petition with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. You can do that either electronically or by mail. The petition for family members is Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, while the petition that employers file for foreign workers is Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers. The National Visa Center (NVC) will send you a welcome letter if your petition is approved.
Pay the Required Fees
The letter you get from the NVC will also mention the fees that you’re required to pay:
- Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee: This covers the general costs associated with processing your sponsorship and visa application.
- Affidavit of Support Fee: This fee is paid when filing the Affidavit of Support, also called Form I-864, which is an official contract that defines your commitment and responsibilities as a sponsor.
Provide Other Required Documents
There are some additional documents that you must provide after paying the required fees. The U.S. Department of State provides you with a Financial Evidence Assistant to help you determine the evidence you need to submit to prove that you’re able to support the immigrant financially if they require it. The Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration (Form DS-260) is another required document, which both you and the person or people you wish to sponsor must complete.
Wait for the Visa Approval Decision
After providing all the necessary documentation and paying all required fees, the NVC will review the case. If everything is in order, the NVC will conduct a visa interview appointment with the applicant or applicants. Although you won’t be attending that interview, they will inform you once they make a decision.
If the NVC approves the application, they will provide specific information to the applicant regarding how they can pick up their passport and visa. If the application is denied, you and the applicant will be notified. Depending on the reasons, you may be able to appeal or reapply in the future after addressing the issues that prompted the denial.
Can I Sponsor a Friend Who Wishes To Become a Permanent U.S. Resident?
There are many situations where U.S. citizens wish to sponsor close friends who want to relocate to the U.S. on a permanent basis. While there are no legal ways to sponsor a visa application as a friend, you can help them get permanent residency by becoming their financial sponsor. If you’re a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and have the required income of at least 125% of the U.S. poverty-level income, you can file an Affidavit of Support on their behalf. You’re then required to support the immigrant financially until one of these situations materializes:
- They become a U.S. citizen.
- They work in the U.S. for at least 40 quarters (around 10 years).
- They are no longer in the U.S.
- They’re no longer eligible to stay in the U.S., but their situation is pending because someone else has filed a new Affidavit of Support on their behalf.
- They die.
De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers Can Help You Sponsor an Immigrant
Sponsoring an immigrant and helping them get permanent U.S. residency can help change someone’s life for the better. Contact us at De Castroverde, and our knowledgeable team will provide guidance and information based on your specific situation. Give us a call or complete our secure online form to see how we can help you with your immigration needs.