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Advice for U.S. citizens on helping non-U.S. relatives immigrate to the U.S.

Regardless of nationality, for many people throughout the world, family is everything. For individuals who were born in the U.S. or who went through the process to become a U.S. citizen, there are actions one can take to assist family members who are not U.S. citizens in coming to and staying in the U.S.

In cases where you are a U.S. citizen and have a spouse, child, sibling or parent who is wishes to come to the U.S, but is not a U.S. citizen, a Green Card can be obtained with relative ease. As part of the immigration process, you will need to officially sponsor your relative. A key part of sponsoring a relative is proving that you are able to financially support a relative as he or she will not initially be permitted to work.

As with all U.S. immigration matters, there are a number of forms, documents and other requirements that must be completed, filed and met according to the specific guidelines that are outlined by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In cases where you fail to complete a form or provide sufficient information or documentation, the approval process for a relative's Green Card may be significantly delayed. Additionally, a relative will be required to undergo a background check and interview, the results of which may also impact his or her ability to obtain a Green Card and immigrate to the U.S.

It's common for U.S. citizens who attempt to navigate the family immigration process on their own to experience confusion and frustration. Often, mistakes are made along the way that further complicate and delay matters. For these reasons, it's often beneficial to seek the advice and assistance of an attorney who handles immigration matters.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "I am a U.S. Citizen: How do I help my relative become a U.S. permanent resident?," Jan. 26, 2016

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