The US recognizes that family unity is important and for this reason, the federal government has made provisions which allow US citizens and US permanent residents to sponsor family members to come to the US. This means that if you are a US citizen, you can sponsor your relatives so that they can become a permanent resident of the US and can come to live and work in the US permanently. If you have a US green card, you can also sponsor members of your immediate family for a green card.
Green card family sponsorship mandates a number of eligibility requirements. In order to sponsor your relatives for a US green card, you must:
- Be a lawful green card holder of the US or a US citizen and you must have documentation that can prove your status in the US.
- Be sponsoring a qualifying family member. You can sponsor most immediate relatives. However, close relatives (parents, children, and spouses) do receive preferred processing.
- Be willing to file I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) to start the process of helping your relative become a permanent resident of the US.
- Be able to prove that you can financially support any family members you sponsor through green card family sponsorship. This generally means that you must show that your household income is 125% above the poverty line established by the government. You must be willing to file an Affidavit of Support to prove that you meet this requirement.
If you are a US citizen, you can sponsor these immediate family members:
- A spouse
- A child
- A sibling (if you, the sponsor, are over 21 years of age)
- Parents (if you are older than 21 years old)
In each case, you will need to prove your relationship to the relative you are sponsoring and you will need to go through the green card family sponsorship process for every relative you want to sponsor for a US green card.
Although the US offers green card family sponsorship, this form of sponsorship does not allow you to arrange permanent resident status for all your relatives. If you have relatives you are close to that are not your spouse, child, sibling, or parents, you may still be able to help them get a US green card. Your relatives may be eligible to get a green card based on something other than family relationship. As well, you may be able to sponsor their immediate relatives and then work to ensure that those relatives sponsor them.