Goose Creek Family Immigration Lawyer

People living overseas often dream of coming to the United States for a better life. When a family member is a citizen or Legal Permanent Resident (LPR or Green Card holder), they can sponsor relatives to immigrate to the U.S.

While family immigration is often simpler than other ways of legally entering the country, it is still complicated. The U.S. requires extensive documentation that requires you to compile information that takes months to review. Sometimes, it could be years before a visa becomes available for a family member.

An experienced immigration attorney at Miller | Conway can prevent mistakes, develop realistic expectations, and reduce frustration when applying for family immigration. To learn more about sponsoring a family member to join you in the United States, contact a Goose Creek family immigration lawyer today.

When Can a Family Member Apply for a Visa?

While the U.S. has multiple visa categories, it only issues a limited number per year. The U.S. also favors immigrants from certain countries and disfavors immigrants from others. That said, the type of visa you choose and your country of origin determine how long it could take to receive a visa number.

When you are a citizen and wish to sponsor your foreign spouse, unmarried children under 21, or parents, the process moves quickly. There are no numerical limits on visas in the “immediate family” category: once the sponsor and applicant have completed the paperwork and the applicant has passed the interview, a visa will be available immediately.

Immediate relatives of green card holders and more distant family members of citizens must apply for a visa in the family preference category. The U.S. limits the number of family preference visas it issues annually. When you wish to sponsor a relative in this category, a knowledgeable attorney in Goose Creek can help you determine how long it could take to obtain a visa.

What is the Process for Applying for a Family-Based Immigration?

The U.S.-based sponsor must file Form I-130—the Petition for Alien Relative—to begin the visa application process. That form establishes the relationship between the sponsor and the foreign applicant. When the relative applying for an immigration visa is legally in the U.S., they can file a Form I-485, Petition to Register Permanent Residency or Adjust Status, when the sponsor files Form I-130. It saves time if both parties file the forms simultaneously.

When the applicant is abroad, they must wait to file their visa application until their sponsor’s petition is approved. Once the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves the petition, it notifies the sponsor and the State Department’s National Visa Center (NVC). When a visa number in the applicant’s category becomes available—which could take years—the NVC notifies the applicant, who must then pay the fees and file an application as well as substantial supporting documentation.

Once an applicant’s documentation is complete and has been reviewed, the applicant must go to an interview. Applicants already in the U.S. will interview with a USCIS officer at a local office—overseas applicants interview with a Consular officer at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence. A hardworking lawyer in Goose Creek can explain the family immigration process in detail during a private consultation.

Sponsor’s Responsibilities Toward Immigrant Relatives

When you are a U.S. citizen or LPR sponsoring a relative for immigration, you must submit an Affidavit of Support. The affidavit means you are obligated to support the immigrant financially until they become a citizen or have documented 40 quarters of work in the United States, which requires ten years of paid employment. When you bring your spouse to the U.S. on a visa and later divorce, you must continue to support them financially.

The affidavit is a legally binding contract. When the person you sponsor receives public benefits in the U.S., you must repay the government. A seasoned Goose Creek attorney will explain the consequences when you fail to meet the obligations of the affidavit when bringing a family member to the United States.

According to 8 United States Code§1183, as a sponsor signing an Affidavit of Support, you must prove your income is at least 125 percent of the poverty level for your household size. You must include the immigrant when calculating the size of the household. However, when your income is insufficient, you can ask someone else who meets the income requirements but is unrelated to the immigrant to be a joint sponsor.

Contact an Attorney in Goose Creek for Help Securing a Family Immigration Visa

Sponsoring a family member to immigrate can be a stressful and emotional process. You need experienced legal counsel you can rely on for sound advice.

Our local Goose Creek family immigration lawyers have the expertise you need. Speak with a knowledgeable legal professional today.