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Who can sponsor immigrants coming to the U.S.?

On Behalf of | Mar 13, 2024 | Immigration Law

Family-based immigration allows U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to sponsor relatives to immigrate to the United States.

This process is designed to reunite families and strengthen community ties, reflecting the value placed on family unity in U.S. immigration policy. Understanding the basics of family-based immigration is a good way to get started with this process.

Categories of family-based immigration

There are two primary categories of family-based immigrant visas: immediate relatives and family preference categories. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens include spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21 and parents of U.S. citizens who are 21 years of age or older. There is no cap on the number of visas available annually for immediate relatives, which typically allows quicker processing times.

The family preference categories are for specific, more distant family relationships with U.S. citizens and some specified relationships with LPRs. These categories include:

  • First preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters, and their children, of U.S. citizens
  • Second preference (F2): Spouses, minor children and unmarried adult sons and daughters of LPRs
  • Third preference (F3): Married sons and daughters, as well as their spouse and minor children, of U.S. citizens
  • Fourth preference (F4): Brothers and sisters (and their spouse and minor children of U.S. citizens) if the U.S. citizen is at least 21 years old.

Who can sponsor a relative?

U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents play a crucial role in the family-based immigration process by acting as sponsors for their relatives. To sponsor a relative, the U.S. citizen or LPR must:

  • Demonstrate the ability to support the relative at 125% above the mandated poverty line
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Reside in the United States or a U.S. territory

The process for bringing family members to the U.S. is complex. Sponsors and potential immigrants should ensure they fully understand he process.

Understanding family-based immigration is essential for U.S. citizens and LPRs who wish to sponsor relatives. Despite the complexities and waiting times involved, this pathway remains vital for promoting family unity and allowing loved ones to start a new chapter together in the United States.