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People who are U.S. citizens can sponsor their parents, spouse and children under twenty-one years of age for an immigrant visa. These "immediate relatives" are not subject to a quota or waiting list. Fiancee visas can also be arranged for prospective spouses, subject to certain conditions. (See below for specific information on fiancee visas!)

People who are U.S. citizens can sponsor adult sons/daughters and brothers/sisters, but these are subject to a quota/waiting list, and their "priority date" rank will depend on whether or not they are married (for sons/daughters) and country of nationality. The spouses and children of adult sons/daughters and brothers/sisters and are called "derivative beneficiaries" and different issues may arise with them.

Lawful permanent residents can sponsor spouses, children and unmarried sons/daughters. These relatives may be subject to a quota and waiting list, depending on the country of nationality. Foreign nationals from Mexico, China, India and the Philippines are subject to separate quotas (meaning a waiting list) for all the non-immediate relative family-based categories.

All family-based sponsorship requires the sponsor to meet federal poverty guidelines for such sponsorship in order to prove that the family has enough income or resources to support itself. A chart is published based on family size and required income. The sponsor will be required to provide income tax returns for the past three years and recent proof of salary/income. If the sponsor does meet the guidelines, the foreign national will need to obtain a joint or co-sponsor. Sometimes the foreign national can be a co-sponsor, depending on the local CIS office and officer.

Fiancee Visas - On June 13, 2006, the Department of Homeland Security announced new guidelines for fiancee visas. These guidelines were made retroactive for many applicants. The new rules require the U.S. citizen to disclose whether a dating service was used, and the U.S. citizen must disclose any criminal convictions, providing certified copies of the criminal record to the government. The government may then disclose the criminal record information to the foreign fiancee.

If you would like to sponsor a family member or a fiancee, please call 919-788-9996 to speak with an attorney today.

Araneda Law Firm, P.C.
  Important notice: This site contains an overview of current immigration law. But laws can and do change rapidly. Every situation is unique and it may not be possible for you to fully understand your options without competent legal assistance. Please call us with confidence; we have the experience to help you at all levels of the immigration process, including deportation or removal proceedings.


Attorney Jorgelina E. Araneda also defends Federal criminal cases in the Eastern and Middle Districts of North Carolina.
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