Do I Have to be an Immigrant’s Family Member to Petition for Their Citizenship?

Do I Have to be an Immigrant’s Family Member to Petition for Their Citizenship?
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With immigration being on the front pages of newspapers across the country lately, many are concerned for friends and loved ones who are foreign nationals and may want to come to the United States. The immigration process can be complicated, and there are several ways in which an immigrant may enter the country legally. Perhaps you have heard the term ‘sponsorship’ when trying to understand what is needed for a foreign national to come to the U.S. It is important to understand that in the context of immigration law, sponsorship has more than one meaning.

Sponsoring an Immigrant in Florida

If you own a business, it may be possible for the company to “sponsor” an immigrant or foreign national for a temporary or permanent visa. This sponsorship would be for the purposes of the immigrant obtaining and retaining employment. This process is very complicated and while this process can be drawn out, this is one possible option available. Generally speaking, for any non-employment based petition, the “sponsor” must be a close relative of the intending immigrant.

An “immediate relative” means they are a parent, spouse, or child. Other family members may be able to petition for an intending immigrant, such as a sibling, but they are not considered an “immediate relative,” therefore the process can be quite lengthy. Additionally, the age and marital status of an intending immigrant will directly affect which category they are eligible to apply through. In other words, if you simply know someone who wants to immigrate and obtain a green card, you cannot sponsor that person based on your personal friendship. Another common option for entering the United States for foreign nationals is by obtaining a tourist visa. A tourist visa allows the person to come legally into the country, usually for up to six months at a time.

To consult with an experienced immigration lawyer today, call 855-780-9986

Financial “Support” of an Immigrant

If the immigrant, or foreign national, is applying for a Green Card and proof of financial support is needed, you are not required to be a family member to assist.. This support is often required to show the applicant will not become “a public charge,” meaning the government will not have to provide financial support for this person during their stay. The sponsor will be required to complete, and sign, an affidavit of support, acknowledging they accept financial responsibility for the foreign national while he or she is in the United States. This affidavit of support is legally binding and this financial responsibility remains until the immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen or, alternatively, begins working and is credited with 40 quarters of work (usually 10 years of employment).

Central Florida Immigration Help

Our nation’s immigration laws are complicated. Do not try to navigate the complex requirements of U.S. immigration law on your own, no matter how well-meaning you are trying to be. If you know someone, or are related to someone who is a foreign national, who needs to properly enter and remain in the U.S., contact the Orlando immigration attorneys at Bogin, Munns & Munns. With more than 35 years of experience handling immigration issues for families across the state of Florida, our attorneys can guide you every step of the way and explain your rights and obligations under federal law. Contact us today to schedule your immigration consultation at one of our firm’s Central Florida locations.


NOTICE: The article above is not intended to serve as legal advice, and you should not rely on it as such. It is offered only as general information. You should consult with a duly licensed attorney regarding your Florida legal matter, as every situation is unique. Please know that merely reading this article, subscribing to this blog, or otherwise contacting Bogin, Munns & Munns does not establish an attorney-client relationship with our firm. Should you seek legal representation from Bogin, Munns & Munns, any such representation must first be agreed to by the firm and confirmed in a written agreement.

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