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Family Petition Attorneys

The family-based immigration process allows permanent residents and citizens to bring their immediate family members to the United States. There are numerous laws surrounding this process and safeguards in place to protect against the possibility of fraud. As a result, this process can be very time-consuming and requires a substantial amount of work.

While a lot of work goes into a family immigration petition, the results are worth the work and the wait. With the help of an immigration attorney, you can feel confident working through this process and advocating for your loved ones. Learn more about how we can help—call Castillo & Associates at 800-497-9774 now.

Eligibility for Family-Based Immigration

To be eligible for entry to the United States via family-based immigration, an individual must be related to either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Eligible family members depend on the applicant’s status.

U.S. citizens may file a petition for their spouse, children, siblings, and parents. This includes all children, whether or not they are married and regardless of their age. Citizens can also apply to bring their fiancé/fiancée into the country while awaiting marriage. Note, though, that some of these are not considered immediate family members, so they would fit into a preference category.

Permanent residents may apply to bring their spouse, unmarried children under the age of 21, and unmarried children of any age.

Preference Relative Applications

While immediate relatives essentially “skip the line,” other relatives fit into different preference categories. An individual’s placement into a specific category determines how quickly they are granted a visa. The categories include:

  • First preference: Citizens’ unmarried children aged 21 or older
  • Second preference: Permanent residents’ spouses and children who are unmarried and younger than 21
  • Second preference, second group: Permanent residents’ unmarried children who are older than 21
  • Third preference: Married sons and daughters of American citizens
  • Fourth preference: A U.S. citizen’s brothers and sisters (assuming that the citizen is 21 or older)

Proving the Family Relationship

As you may have already noticed by this point in your immigration journey, the process is heavily safeguarded against fraud. This means that real, non-fraudulent applicants must jump through numerous hoops to prove their family relationship when filing a petition for a relative. While applying to bring a spouse into the country, you should submit proof of jointly owned property, joint tenancy of a home, birth certificates of children born to you, and other proof of your relationship. Note that other questions will be asked during your interview to generate an understanding of your relationship.

If you plan on bringing your children to the United States, you will want to submit the child’s birth certificate showing your name. If the child was born out of wedlock, you may need additional information showing that a parent-child relationship exists and that you have supported the child in the past.

Applicants bringing siblings to the country may satisfy application requirements by supplying both siblings’ birth certificates, assuming that the birth certificates show that they have the same parents. If the siblings have different mothers or fathers, additional documentation will be required.

Affidavit of Support

When someone enters the country, they need substantial financial support. Because of this, the person bringing them to the United States will generally need to sign an affidavit of support. An affidavit of support essentially means that you agree to be financially responsible for your family member. Note, though, that the sponsor does not have to be the same person as the one applying on behalf of a family member. If the applicant does not have enough asset for income to be a sponsor, they may have a family member or friend sponsor on their behalf. If the sponsored family member receives public benefits, including SSI, TANF, or other programs, the government may go after the person who signed the affidavit of support for reimbursement.

This financial responsibility is not permanent. The sponsor’s obligations end when either party dies, the person entering the country becomes a citizen, the person entering the country works for at least 40 quarters, or the person entering the country leaves the United States permanently.

Get the Legal Counsel You Need for Your Immigration Petition—Contact Castillo & Associates

If you’re interested in bringing a loved one to the United States, find out how our family immigration attorneys can help you. Go ahead and schedule a consultation to discuss your options and next steps—just contact us online or call us at 800-497-9774.

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