How to Sponsor an Immigrant

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

There are three ways for someone to sponsor an immigrant who desires entrance into America. Immediate family members and preferential family status are avenues available for sponsors who are US citizens and Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs). Employers can sponsor an immigrant for a work related VISA. The immigration laws are complex and petitions for sponsorship of individuals are approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Sponsors will need to have patience as they navigate through the application processes at both the USCIS in America and at the US Embassy in the immigrant?s home country. Depending on the number of requests for immigration in someone?s home country, it is possible for the approval procedure to take months, if not years, for completion.

Each immigration avenue has requirements for both the sponsors and the immigrants, but throughout all of the systems immigration sponsors need to be at least 21 years of age and all immigrants must pass a health examination. Potential immigrants with serious health problems or communicable diseases will not be permitted to enter America. The immigrant must provide proof of good character; this is generally a copy of any police record on the individual or a letter from the home country?s police department that there is no criminal record. Sponsors must provide proof that either the sponsors or the immigrants have the financial resources to support the new residents once they arrive in America.

IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBERS
Immediate family members of sponsors are defined as:
--Spouses of U.S. citizens
--Minor, unmarried children of U.S. citizens, under the age of 21
--Parents of U.S. citizens

PERFERENTIAL FAMILY MEMBERS
Preferential family members of sponsors are defined as:
--Spouses of LPRs
--Unmarried children, regardless of their ages, of LPRs
--Adult children over the age of 21, whether single or married, of U.S. citizens
--Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, regardless of their ages

EMPLOYMENT RELATED IMMIGRANTS
United States employers can sponsor individuals for temporary immigration VISAs if they possess special degrees, knowledge or critical skills. The USCIS has a detailed listing of the degrees, skills and knowledge categories that are needed in the United States for the betterment of the American economy. A potential immigrant can provide the offer of employment and the stated salary as proof of independent financial support while in America. The immigrant will still be required to provide proof of good character and pass a medical examination.

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