A US Citizen or a US legal Permanent resident (LPR) can sponsor specific relatives for a green card. There are two different pathways to sponsor your relative depending on whether the relative is abroad or legally residing in the US. If the relative is in the US on a legal status they can apply for Adjustment of Status.
Step 1 – Proof of qualifying relationship
1. Submit your application and supporting documents that prove qualifying relationship and pay the government fee.
If there is no waiting period because the relative is considered an immediate relative we can file for adjustment of status immediately.
2. Receipt notice – Receipt notice will arrive acknowledging receipt of government fees and of the application.
3. Approval Notice – The application needs to be processed by the USCIS, after the application is processed, we receive an approval notice.
4. Waiting for file to be current – With family-based petitions, the US prioritizes different types of family relationships, and the preference classification will determine how long the beneficiary will need to wait for there to be a visa available for them. In some cases, it can take years until there is a visa available and we are able to apply for an immigrant visa. If there is no waiting period because the relative is considered an immediate relative by the US prioritization system, we can immediately file for an adjustment of status.
Step 2 – Adjustment of Status
1. We will need to file an application to adjust your status from a nonimmigrant visa to an immigrant visa and pay a government fee.
2. Affidavit of Support and Declaration of Self-sufficiency
3. There will be two forms that need to be completed with supporting documents to show that the relative will not be a public charge.
i. An affidavit of support
ii. Statement of self sufficiency
You may also apply for an Employment Authorization Document if you desire to work while waiting for a decision on your file.
If you need to leave the United States while your application is being processed, you will need to apply for an Advance Parole document.
4. Biometrics – The relative applying for a green card will receive an appointment to complete biometrics
5. Interview (if applicable) – The immigration officials will review the case and determine if an interview is necessary. If the applicant is invited to an interview, they will need to bring their original documents with them.
6. Approval Notice – Once the case is approved, the applicant will receive an approval by mail, and the green card will arrive by mail shortly after.
All said and explained in this article does not constitute a legal opinion and does not replace legal advice. Responsibility for using the wordings and opinions conveyed in this article relies solely and entirely on the reader.
This article was written by Dotan Cohen Law Offices, working in the field of immigration law in Israel, the United States and Canada.