Lawful permanent residents (LPR) of the U.S. can enjoy various rights and privileges, one of which can be to sponsor a relative to become an LPR. While the sponsorship process can be involved, below, we will point out some of the most important facts to understand about it.
Sponsoring a Relative to Become an LPR
- Who can be sponsored – A lawful permanent resident of the U.S. can sponsor his or her spouse for LPR status, as well as any unmarried children (s)he has (regardless of the ages of the children). If the children are married, they can only be sponsored for LPR status by a U.S. citizen.
- Initiating sponsorship – To start sponsoring a qualifying relative for LPR status, Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, must be completed and submitted to USCIS, along with supporting documentation that proves the relationship between the sponsor and the sponsee (i.e., the individual being sponsored). At this time, the necessary filing fees will also have to be paid (unless a fee waiver is being requested).
- Waiting times for decisions – Once the sponsorship petition has been submitted, the waiting times for a decision from USCIS will vary, according to how many others (from the same country and with the same sponsorship) are ahead of them in queue. In general, waiting times can be checked in the USCIS monthly Visa Bulletin. During this waiting period, it’s important to note that the applicant will not have permission to legally enter the U.S. In other words, if no other action is taken to gain temporary approval to enter the U.S., the entry may be considered illegal, and it could affect the impending application/case.
- Sponsors’ responsibilities – In order to sponsor a relative for LPR status, sponsors must serve as financial sponsors, proving they can financially support their relative by filing Form I-864 with USCIS. If someone does not meet the financial requirements for sponsorship, another individual will need to commit to providing this support.
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