In order to sponsor a family member to get a green card, the U.S. citizen or permanent resident family member must file an immigration petition and an affidavit of support before the immigrant visa or green card will be issued. The petition requires proof of the relationship between the petitioner and the person who will obtain lawful permanent resident status. In order to petition for a child, the petitioner must prove that the child is a biological or legally adopted child. Only U.S. citizens may petition for a parent or step-parent, and the U.S. citizen must be at least 21 years of age. The step-parent relationship must have begun while the petitioner was under the age of 18. Proof of the parental relationship is required.
Where the petition is based on marriage, the couple must prove that they have a bona fide relationship by providing documents that establish they hold themselves out as married to their community, co-mingle their finances, share their household bills, and own joint assets and liabilities. The couple must also successfully complete an interview to determine whether they share a life together and know enough information about one another and the home they share. If denied, the case can be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals.
U.S. citizens may petition for their fiancé(e)s. This process requires the filing of an immigration petition with proof that the couple has met each other within the two-year period immediately before the filing of the petition, proof that the relationship is a bona fide one, and proof that the couple intends to get married to each other. After the petition is approved, it is sent to the U.S. embassy for further processing. The couple has to get married within 90 days after the fiancé or fiancée enters the U.S. The children under 21 years of age of the fiancé may also immigrate on the petition.
The time required to process an immigration petition for family members varies. The spouses, children under 21 years of age, and parents of U.S. citizens do not have to wait to obtain a green card. The only wait is for the petition and any necessary waivers to be approved. The siblings and children over 21 years of a U.S. citizen must wait if there are no immigrant visas currently available. The spouse and children of all ages of a lawful permanent resident must wait if there are no immigrant visas available. Permanent residents may only petition for an unmarried child and cannot petition for siblings.
When you hire Minikon Law, LLC to represent you in your family petition case, we do the following:
- Evaluate your immigration history to identify potential challenges during the petition process
- Evaluate the immigration history of your family member to assess chances of success before you file the application
- Search for other options for the family member that may yield faster results or keep the family together during the process
- Guide you through the entire immigration process, in the U.S. or abroad
- Advise on the need for any waivers
- Research current law to assess the impact on your petition before filing
- Prepare you for your immigration interview
- Attend the immigration interview with you, if held in the U.S.