The coronavirus pandemic has made global travel more difficult than it has ever been in our lifetimes. Now, more than ever, it is important for foreign nationals to obtain a lawful immigration status in order to keep their families together in these uncertain times. The experienced Hobart family immigration lawyers at Arshad Pangere Warring can help your family members through the process of obtaining visas, green cards, or citizenship.
U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents can sponsor certain family members for a visa. Lawful permanent residents (green card holders) may only sponsor a spouse or unmarried child. U.S. citizens may also sponsor married children, parents, and siblings.
Once you are eligible to sponsor a family member’s visa, you must determine what type of visa to apply for. Immediate family visas are only available to a spouse, parent, or unmarried child of the sponsor, but they are not subject to quota requirements. Family preference visas are available to married children and siblings of the sponsor, but they are subject to quota regulations, so there may be a longer wait to obtain this type of visa.
U.S. citizens can also sponsor certain family members for lawful permanent residency. This includes:
If you have a fiance who lives outside of the United States, you may sponsor them for admission into the country on a fiance visa. They must be married within ninety days. At this point, they are the spouse of a U.S. citizen, and you may apply for a green card on that basis.
Many immigrants feel that a green card is sufficient. It allows you to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis (so long as you maintain your eligibility). But if your family member wants to enjoy the full rights of citizenship, the next step in the immigration process is naturalization.
Unlike visas or green cards, you don’t need a sponsor for citizenship. The immigrant files his or her own Application for Naturalization after meeting the required length of time holding a green card. This is typically five years, though it is reduced for three years for those married to U.S. citizens. There are also certain humanitarian exemptions to the waiting period: for example, for those who are leaving an abusive marriage to a U.S. citizen who sponsored the applicant’s visa or green card.
After filing your application, you will be notified of the time to complete a biometrics appointment, a citizenship exam, and your citizenship interview. If you successfully meet these requirements, you will be invited to take the Oath of Allegiance. You are then an official U.S. citizen. This entire process typically takes between one and two years.
At Arshad Pangere Warring, we have helped many families obtain lawful immigration status in order to stay together. Contact us to schedule a consultation with an experienced Hobart family immigration lawyer.
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