Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
By Michael Vosilla
Senior Associate

If you are either a United States citizen or a permanent resident of the country, you may have the right to sponsor a family member for a Green Card (also known as a Permanent Resident Card). There’s a specific legal process that is involved and not everyone is eligible. But with the guidance of a seasoned Middlesex County immigration attorney, you can find out whether you are allowed to sponsor a family member’s Green Card. LaFountain & Wollman P.C. explain which steps you need to take.

Who is eligible for sponsoring a relative?

Sponsoring a family member to become a permanent resident (e.g. help them obtain a Green Card) begins with applying for a family-based immigration visa. There are two types of these visas:

Immediate relative visas. These are for close relatives of American citizens like spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents. An unlimited number of visas are immediately available in this category, which include:

  • IR1 and CR1 for spouses
  • IR2 for children
  • IR5 for parents

Family preference visa. Each year there are only a limited number of these visas, which are for:

  • Other relatives: F1 visas for unmarried children who are 21 years of age or older; F3 visas for married children; and F4 visas for siblings
  • The spouse and unmarried children of legal permanent residents (in other words, Green Card holders): F2A visas for spouses and unmarried children under age 21; and F2B visas for unmarried children who are 21 years of age or older

Applying for Green Card status for a family member

Sponsoring a relative for permanent residency requires submission of a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-130. Each person who you sponsor will need a separate Form I-130. You can submit the form either online or by mail. You (as the sponsor or petitioner) and your relative (as the visa applicant or beneficiary) must accurately complete all necessary steps, so having an immigration attorney is critical to meeting this requirement. These steps may include:

  • Completing the necessary forms and visa applications
  • Filing fee payments
  • Presenting required supporting documents
  • Obtaining a financial sponsor
  • Interview preparation

The next steps will vary depending on whether the family member is already present in the United States or is currently located abroad:

If the family member is in the United States. An Adjustment of Status Application will be necessary. This means that the relative may be able to obtain a Green Card without having to return to his or her home country to complete visa processing. Among other steps, a Form I-485 must be filed.

If the family member is outside the United States. The process involves Consular Processing. The applicant will need to apply at a U.S. Department of State Embassy or Consulate abroad for an immigrant visa, which will allow him or her to come to the United States and be admitted as a permanent resident (Green Card holder).

Petitions and More: Why You Need a Dedicated Immigration Attorney

Regardless of which of the above steps apply to your family member’s situation, there are several other steps that may be required like petitions, interviews, and submission of additional evidence. These procedures can quickly get complicated and many applicants get lost in the paperwork and law. If you or your family member make a mistake, the Green Card application could be jeopardized.

But a skilled immigration attorney knows the statutes, rules, regulations, and procedures involved in obtaining a green card for your family member. That’s where our law firm comes in. Reach out to LaFountain & Wollman P.C. to get started on your family member’s Green Card application today.

About the Author
Attorney Michael Vosilla is LaFountain & Wollman, P.C.’s Senior Associate, who currently resides in Brighton. As an immigration lawyer, Attorney Vosilla has secured green cards and citizenship for countless clients, and he is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).