Family Based Immigration Visas

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How do I sponsor family members for an immigrant visa? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. In yesterday’s video, we talked about the process of adjusting status for parents and other family members who are inside the United States, the parents and family members of U.S. citizens. And we talked about how with parents, it’s relatively straightforward and how with siblings, you’re generally going to have to do this overseas. That’s what we’re going to talk about in today’s video. Today’s video is part of a two-part update for our upcoming book on the adjustment of status process. If you’re interested in that book, make sure to leave us a comment down below, and we’ll add you to the list for when it comes out.

In any event, today we’re talking about when a U.S. citizen wants to sponsor a family member who’s not a spouse for an immigrant visa from overseas. Let’s come up with an example. Let’s say Yvonne has a parent. Yvonne is a U.S. citizen. Yvonne is from the Ukraine, and Yvonne wants to sponsor his mother for a immigrant visa. Yvonne would begin the process by filing an I-130 petition just as he would if he was sponsoring a spouse. The parents and underage children of U.S. citizens are treated the same as spouses. They’re what are called immediate relatives, which means there are an unlimited number of those visas available. And so Yvonne’s filing an I-130 petition with USCIS that’s going to take months and months to get approved. And then once it’s approved, that case is going to be transferred to the National Visa Center.

Yvonne’s going to pay an immigrant visa fee and an affidavit of support fee. He’s going to submit a bunch of new evidence or the same evidence in a different format to the State Department at the National Visa Center in New Hampshire. And once the National Visa Center is satisfied, they will send the case on to the embassy, and eventually there will be an interview for the Mom in Ukraine to get stamp her immigrant visa to come to the United States.

At that point, Yvonne’s going to pay and file his [LSV 00:02:12] and the LSV will make sure that Mom gets her green card when she arrives in the United States. That’s what’s supposed to happen. Okay. Now, if Yvonne is sponsoring his brothers or sisters, let’s say Yvonne has a sister Marina in Kiev, Ukraine, and Yvonne wants to sponsor Marina. Now here it’s a little bit tricky. There are caps on the number of brothers and sisters who can come to the United States through the immigrant visa process. And whenever you find a cap, there’s a backlog. If you want to understand the backlog, you need to Google, Visa Bulletin, and you can look in the Visa Bulletin, and you can see what cases they’re working on.

If Yvonne just filed his case, his I-130 now, it would take a couple of years to get processed by USCIS. They don’t handle those very quickly because there’s such backlog. But Marina’s case would be assigned a priority date on the day that Yvonne files the I-130. If her priority date is very, very recent, then she’s going to have a long wait. Typically, these waits for brothers and sisters from most countries are 13 or 14 years. For other countries like Mexico and India and others, it’s even longer. You’re going to need to look at the Visa Bulletin. But typically what’s going to happen, Yvonne’s going to file an I-130 and get it approved by USCIS. And then they’re just going to wait.

One important factor is that Yvonne’s going to want to make sure that if he ever moves, that he lets USCIS know or the National Visa Center know that he has moved, that he keeps us email updated, and that he’s always in contact with them at least once a year to keep track of what his case is doing and when the case is going to be approved. Let’s say that Yvonne was a very far thinking futuristic kind of a person, and Yvonne filed his petition 15 years ago from Marina, and now her visa has become current. Now Marina wants to come to the United States. Now, the one good thing is that Yvonne can sponsor his sister and she can actually bring a spouse or children with them if they’re under a 21. Yvonne has that benefit.

Now, what’s going to happen is once the visa number becomes current, once that priority date is the same or before the priority date in the Visa Bulletin that I mentioned, then Yvonne’s sister Marina is going to be able to apply for her and her husband and her children to come to the United States. This is what’s often called derisively by those on the right, chain migration. But what it really is is family based immigration where a U.S. citizen has the statutory right to sponsor their brother or sister to come to the United States. That wait is about 13 years.

Then the case, it’s really just, there’s a big break between the normal process. USCIS, National Visa Center, embassy, same deal. It’s just that there’s 13 years between USCIS and the National Visa Center. These same kinds of cases work when a U.S. citizen wants to sponsor their adult children. Now, that weight is not as long. It’s almost as long, but it’s not as long. If Yvonne’s mother Katya had come to the United States 10 years ago and applied for Marina, then Marina could have come that way because those cases go a little bit faster. But basically the process is the same. It’s just that sometimes there’s a break. These are the kinds of cases that U.S. citizens can file and only U.S. citizens can file.

A lawful permanent resident can’t sponsor their parent or can’t sponsor their sister. It’s only when the petitioner is a U.S. citizen that these benefits are available. I help us make sense. If you have questions about this, or if you’re looking forward to our book, give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. And if you like this video, we ask that you please share it out on social and subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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