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The process behind bringing a family member here to the U.S. -- III

In prior posts, our blog started examining how citizens can help their relatives residing in a foreign nation secure status as a lawful permanent resident here in the U.S. via the Petition for Alien Relative or, more simply, the Form I-130.

In today's post, we'll continue to explore this important topic by discussing a few of the issues that those who elected to sponsor a relative might want to consider.

The Form I-130 and financial sponsorship

As we stated in a previous post, in order for a citizen-sponsor to help their loved one secure a green card, they must not only provide evidence demonstrating that the documented familial relationship exists, but also provide evidence that they have sufficient assets/income to support them upon their arrival here in the U.S.

Once the Form I-130 petition has been filed and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services determines that the relative is eligible to immigrate, the citizen-sponsor will then be required to file the Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. This document is essentially an agreement to provide financial sponsorship for the relative upon their arrival.

In the event the citizen-sponsor does not meet the minimum qualifications for financial sponsorship, it will be necessary for another qualifying individual to make this commitment before the relative can immigrate.

The waiting period

It's important to remember that filing the Form I-130 only serves to establish the familial relationship between the citizen-sponsor and the relative, and does not mean that they can immediately move to the U.S.

Indeed, USCIS indicates that relatives living outside the U.S. should remain in their native country until they are given the green light for a green card. An exception to this is that the spouses, unmarried children under 21 and parents of citizen-sponsors who originally entered the U.S. legally can apply to adjust their status to permanent resident at the same time the Form I-130 is filed.

Form I-130 and processing times

According to USCIS, it is impossible to provide an exact timeframe for the processing of the Form I-130 given the number of variables involved. However, the agency does post updated processing times on its website.

Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about this process or any other family immigration matters.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "How do I help my relative become a U.S. permanent resident?" Accessed Sept. 24, 2014

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