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ABC’s Of Family Immigration


Family Immigration Overview

As a U.S. Citizen you can help your relative become a lawful permanent resident. To do so you must sponsor your relative by filing the required petitions and prove that you have enough income or assets to support your relatives to insure they won’t become a public charge or need public assistance.

To start the process you must provide evidence and documentation (birth certificate, death certificate, marriage license, etc.) to prove your relationship to the person for whom you are filing.

Helping a family member, whether it is your spouse, fiancé(e), child, parent or brother or sister, become a permanent resident of the US, follows roughly the same procedure as outlined below. It may seem straightforward, but there are many nuances in each type of family-based visa.

First, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must approve an immigrant visa petition for you. This petition must be accompanied by proof of the relationship and the other required documentation in order to begin the family based immigration process.

Second, the Department of State must determine if an immigrant visa number is available for the foreign national, according to the category of visa applied for, even if that person already lives in the United States.

The third step in family based immigration, if the foreign relative is already in the United States, he or she should apply to change his or her status to that of a lawful permanent resident after a visa number becomes available.

If you are outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available, the foreign relative must go to the U.S. consulate to complete the processing. This is the other way in which you can apply to secure an immigrant visa number for US family based immigration. If a beneficiary is based outside the United States, then his / her documents are considered by the National Visa Center (NVC) before his / her case is being sent to the US Consulate for further processing.NVC reviews the documentation and completes the required administrative processing, such as checking backgrounds and so on.