For many families, immigration is one of the most important legal rights they will ever exercise. Lawful immigration allows family members to stay together in the country without fear of being removed. It also allows individual members the right to lawfully work in the United States in order to provide for their families. All in all, your family’s future is much more secure if you secure the legal right to live and work in the United States for all family members. Learn more about how you can sponsor a family member for a visa or green card.
Close family members can sponsor certain relatives for a visa. Immediate family visas are available to spouses, parents, and unmarried children of the sponsor. Family preference visas are available to a wider range of family members, including siblings and adult married children of the sponsor. A United States citizen can also sponsor a fiance on a K-1 fiance visa and the fiance’s children on a K-2 visa. The couple must marry within ninety days of the fiance’s entry into the United States. At that point, he or she may apply for a visa or permanent residency (a green card) as the spouse of an American citizen.
It is important to note that the sponsoring family member must be qualified to act as a sponsor. It is also important to note that family preference visas are subject to annual quotas, so not all family members can actually secure a visa in a given year, even if they are otherwise eligible. This is why it is important to consult with an immigration attorney to be sure you apply for the correct type of visa.
A visa can secure your entry into the United States, but it is not a permanent solution. Many visas have short expiration dates. Some of them do not even allow the bearer to work in the U.S. This is why many family members wish to secure lawful permanent residence (also known as a “green card”) as soon as possible. If you are a U.S. citizen over the age of 18, you may sponsor a spouse or your minor, unmarried children for a green card. If you are a U.S. citizen over the age of 21, you may also sponsor parents and siblings for their green cards. If you yourself are a permanent resident, you may only sponsor a spouse or unmarried child for a green card. Notice that grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and in-laws are not on this list. Only immediate family members can act as a green card sponsor.
At Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, our experienced Lombard family immigration lawyers can help keep your family together with visas, green cards, or citizenship applications. Contact us to schedule a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you have an attorney fighting on your side, the more secure your family’s future will be.