Monday, June 21, 2010

What kind of relatives can I sponsor for a Green Card?

immigration is the process of sponsoring your relatives to enter inside the United States. Family immigration depends on the the type of relation you are to them. It also depends on whether you are a U.S citizen or a Green Card holder. This plays a vital role in family based immigration because U.S. citizens are allowed to bring relatives like parents, brothers, sisters, spouse and children, where Green card holders are limited to sponsor spouse and unmarried children. Best part in family immigration of being a U.S. citizen is that in many cases your family members can immigrate faster than you being a Green Card holder.

There are two groups of family visas categories including immediate relatives and family preference categories:

Family Immigration - Immediate Relatives: People who fall under immediate relatives are spouse, unmarried child under twenty one years of age of a U.S. citizen. Parent will also fall under immediate relative category provided U.S. citizen son/daughter is at least twenty one years of age. Orphan adopted abroad or to be adopted inside the United States also fall under immediate relative.

There are no limitations of family immigration visas for those who fall under immediate relative category. Number of immediate relatives immigrating to the U.S. are unlimited. They are not controlled by any annual set limit or by any quota.

Family Immigration - Preference Relatives: People who fall under preference category are more distant relationship with U.S. citizens and in some cases the specified relationship with lawful permanent resident ("Green Card" holder). Family preference categories are further divided into the following categories:

Family First Preference (F1): People who fall under this preference category are unmarried sons and daughter of a United States citizen.

Family Second Preference (F2): People who fall under this preference category are spouses, minor children. unmarried sons and daughters of a lawful permanent resident ("Green Card" holder)

Family Third Preference (F3): People who fall under this preference category are married sons and daughters of a U.S. citizens, Son's/daughter's spouses and children will also fall under this category.

Family Fourth Preference (F4): People who fall under this preference category are brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens. Brother's/sister's spouses and minor children will also fall under this category. In order to sponsor family members under this category, U.S. citizens must be at least 21 years of age.

There are set limitations of family immigration visas for those who fall under preference category. Whenever the number of family immigration applicants for a category exceeds the available family immigration visas, there will be an immigration wait period. In this case, the available immigrant visas will be issued in the order in which the petitions were filed using their priority date. The date when the petition was filed or the filing date called the applicant's priority date. Remember that the immigrant visas cannot be issued until an applicant's priority date is reached. In certain categories there may be a waiting period of several years, or more, before a priority date is reached.

Monday, June 7, 2010

What is Form I-797?

When a petition or application is submitted to USCIS, the applicant or petitioner will receive a Receipt notice. On receipt of the petition or application USCIS will send this receipt notice to the applicant. The receipt notice is also called as Form I-797. After the application is processed successfully, USCIS will send an approval notice on Form I-797. Be notified that Form I-797 is not a visa and cannot be used in place of a visa. It states that action is taken on your application and this will be mentioned in the form.

The use of the USCIS Approval Notice has been revised. It has four versions as follows:
Form I-797, used only for the approval of immigrant visa petitions and adjustment of status applications.
• Form I-797A, with a tear-off I-94 card used when the applicant is inside the United States, for extension of stay and changes of non-immigrant status.
• Form I-797B, with a tear-off consular notification card used when the applicant is outside the United States or will use the approval to obtain a non-immigrant visa.
• Form I-797C, used for non-approvable actions such a filing receipts, requests for more information and denial.

The USCIS Approval Notice is a receipt that USCIS has received your application and contains information about the following:
• The applicant's (Petitioner) personal information.
• The Beneficiary's information (if any).
• Name of the petition.
• Receipt Number, using this number you can check the status of your application.
• Receipt Date, the date your application was received by USCIS.
• Priority Date, is your place in the waiting list queue. This date depends on the preference category you come under and the country of birth. If your priority date is the current date, it means that a visa is immediately available.
• Notice Date.
• Type of notice, whether it is USCIS Approval or receipt.
• Class, what category you belong.
• Validity of your petition. This states how long your petition is valid. The consular authorities have the right to extend your validity period.

The USCIS Approval Notice on Form I-797 has the information about how long you are permitted to have a legal stay in the United States. Please note that this date always matches with the date in the I-94 card. If your application is rejected by USCIS, you will receive Form I-797C, where the receipt number would be blank.

When you receive the USCIS Approval Notice, carefully go through the form. If you find any errors in it, you should immediately inform the centre from where you have received the USCIS Approval Notice. You can find the address of the centre in Form I-797. Keep the USCIS Approval Notice safely, as you have to include it along with the supporting documents, when you submit certain visa petitions. Moreover the USCIS Approval Notice should be taken to the embassy when called for the interview and for visa stamping process.

If the applicant does not receive the USCIS Approval Notice on Form I-797, a duplicate copy will be issued without fee. Similarly when there are errors in the USCIS Approval Notice, corrected Form I-797 will be issued without fee.

Friday, June 4, 2010

What are the requirements to sponsor my parent for a Green card?

The family-based green card process is a process by which you can sponsor your family member for lawful permanent resident status. You can sponsor a Green card for parents, if you are U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old. Permanent residents are not eligible to sponsor a parent for a Green card. The family-based green card process is a multi step process. The first step is to file Form I-130, Petition for alien relative on behalf of each parent. Form I-130 is used to establish the relationship between you and your parent. You need to file an immigrant petition Form I-130 on behalf of your parents and submit it to USCIS. Once USCIS approves your Form I-130, your parents can apply to adjust status to permanent resident status on Form I-485, if they are already inside U.S. If they are outside U.S., they need to contact the local U.S. consulate to complete the family-based green card process. If your parents are already in the United States with a legal status, then you have the option of filing Form I-130 and Form I-485 at the same.

The family-based green card process requires that you have enough income and/or assets to support your parents when they come to United States. You can do this by filing Form I-864, Affidavit of support. The affidavit of support helps to ensure that your parents will not
become a public charge. Public charge means to rely on public benefits such as Food Stamps, Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. If your parents become a permanent resident and is later given certain public benefits, the agency that gave the benefits may require that you repay that money.

USCIS requires that you have an income level at 125% of the federal poverty level. If your income does not meet this requirement, you can use your assets to satisfy this requirement. Assets such as savings account, stocks, property may be considered. Another way to satisfy this requirement is by adding the income of certain household members. Your household member will be required to complete and sign Form I-864A, Affidavit of Support Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member assuring to make their income and assets available to support your parent.

Supporting documents to be included when you file Form I-130:

1) You need to file Form I-130 with evidence that you are a U.S. citizen.
2) Your birth certificate.

Please note that you must file separate Form I-130 for each parent, if you are filing for both of your parents.

Family based greencard
applications are processed faster by USCIS when compared to other green card applications. You and your parents may be required to attend an interview. If the interview is successful, the green card will be sent by mail to the address listed on Form I-130.

After your parents receive permanent resident status, they will have the right to live and work legally in the United States. Your parents will be eligible for U.S. citizenship after 5 years of permanent residence.