Responsibilities of Green Card Sponsorship
Gaining Green Card sponsorship for permanent residency in the United States is an important goal for many foreign-born individuals and families. Green Card status is a significant step toward achieving eventual U.S. citizenship.
In nearly every situation, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) requires that immigrants seeking permanent residency have a sponsor.
USCIS allows Green Card sponsorship in the following categories:
- Sponsoring a Relative: Green Card through family
- Sponsoring an Employee: Green Card through Employment
- Sponsoring a Special Immigrant: see eligibility definitions at the USCIS website
Green Card sponsorship, whether for a family member, employer, or someone who has committed to taking full financial responsibility requires completion of an application process to become a legitimate sponsor. The process can be complicated, so consulting with an experienced immigration lawyer is advisable.
Who Can Be a Green Card Sponsor?
Being a Green Card sponsor carries important and lasting responsibilities. The most important is to assure complete financial responsibility for the candidate until they either become a U.S. Citizen or have proven to work for 40 quarters, or 10 years.
A sponsor for any immigrant candidate for Green Card status must be at least 21-years of age and a United States citizen or a permanent resident. The sponsor must maintain a primary domicile in the United States or a U.S. territory.
In the process of applying for a Green Card for any candidate, the sponsor must verify sufficient income and net worth to support themselves and other family members as well as the applicant.
What is an Affidavit of Support?
The USCIS wants to assure that every individual who comes to reside in the United States will have sufficient financial support to never require assistance from the government. To this end, sponsors are required to complete an Affidavit of Support or Form I-864.
The Affidavit of Support is a legally binding commitment by the sponsor for Green Card sponsorship to make sure the immigrant, in addition to the family of the sponsor, will be adequately supported.
Sponsors must certify that their income levels are at least 25% above the existing Federal Poverty Guidelines. If the sponsor is on active duty in the U.S. Military and wishes to sponsor a Green Card applicant, the income must be at least equal to these federal guidelines.
The Affidavit of Support is legally binding for Green Card sponsorship until the candidate becomes a U.S. citizen or has worked for 40 quarters, usually ten years.
Sponsoring a Relative for Permanent Residency
The path to Green Card sponsorship begins with completing a Petition for Alien Relative or Form I-130. Priority is given to individuals who are immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, such as spouses, unmarried children under 21 including orphans, and parents. Additional categories of family members, who may be eligible but at descending preference levels, are:
- Adult children of U.S. citizens
- Spouses and unmarried children of Permanent Residents
- Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and unmarried minor children
- Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens and families
Sponsoring a Foreign Employee
Often U.S. companies and organizations require services and skills that may best be sourced in foreign countries. Many of these companies initially sponsor these individuals for H-1B visas which have a three-year time limit that is renewable for up to three more. However, the quota for H-1B visas is currently being reduced, and competition for these permits is stiffening.
Employers, however, may apply for permanent residency for foreign-born employees. The first step is to complete a Form I-140, an Immigration Petition for an Alien Worker. The employer must additionally prove that hiring the foreign employee does not negatively impact market wages or impact the hiring prospects of U.S. citizen candidates.
Employees with extraordinary skills and training who are currently working in the United States on a legal visa may also apply for Adjustment of Status to become a Green Card holder. The employer will be asked to provide a letter of proof of employment.
Contact an Experienced Immigration Lawyer
In Dallas TX, Davis & Associates Immigration law firm works tirelessly to assist people and help families reunite through the Green Card application and sponsorship process. The requirements are not always easy to navigate. Professional legal help can make the difference between success and failure.
Contact Davis & Associates for a free consultation to discuss your situation, either as a sponsor or candidate for a Green Card. Call 1-214-628-9888 or leave your information so one of the Davis & Associates professionals can phone you.
About Davis & Associates:
Davis & Associates is the immigration law firm of choice in North Texas including Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, Frisco, McKinney and surrounding areas. Their attorneys provide expert legal counsel for all aspects of immigration law, including deportation defense, writs of habeas corpus and mandamus, family-sponsored immigration, employment-sponsored immigration, investment immigration, employer compliance, temporary visas for work and college, permanent residence, naturalization, consular visa processing, waivers, and appeals. Attorney Garry L. Davis is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.