What Documents Do I Need When Applying For Permanent Residency For A Relative?
In order to apply for permanent residency for a relative, an individual will need proof of their status as a US citizen or permanent resident of the US, proof of the relationship, passport style photos, and proof of the relative’s status in the US (e.g. green card). Proof of the nature of the relationship can be easy if the relative is a mother or child, since a birth certificate should suffice. However, it can become tricky if the birth was registered late or if there is no birth certificate, which does happen in some countries (particularly in African and Central American countries). For a father who was married to the mother at the time the child was born, the birth certificate plus the marriage certificate would suffice as proof. If the parents were not married, then the father would need to prove that the child was legitimately recognized as his legal child, and that he was involved in the child’s life before the child turned 18 years old. The same may apply to a mother where there is no birth certificate or where there is an issue with the birth certificate.
Legitimation varies by country. US authorities require it to comply with your country’s laws. In some countries, it’s as simple as showing the father’s name is on the birth certificate. In other countries, it involves a court process or some other specific legal document. If there has been no legitimation, you can rely on evidence that the father was involved in the child’s life as a normal father would be. There should be documentation that proves the father’s involvement in the child’s life, such as proof that the child lived with the father, or school, tax, or court documents that indicate a relationship between the father and child. This is open-ended and is a commonsense standard from the perspective of a person who doesn’t know the applicant and might be looking for reasons to distrust the intentions behind the application.
If there is little proof of the relationship, then affidavits from family members or friends who know about the father’s involvement in the child’s life might suffice, but would not be ideal. This is because family members and friends might give biased accounts or lie altogether about the relationship; for this reason, affidavits from friends or family members are considered but not given as much weight as neutral documentation.
For an adoptive parent or child, there must be proof of the adoption, such as documentation of a court judgment. For a stepchild or stepparent, the same documents showing proof of the parent-child relationship would be necessary, as well as the marriage certificate between the stepparent and the child’s parent. For a sibling, the relationship could be proven with a birth certificate showing that the two share a biological mother. If the siblings share a father but not a mother, then that would require the same proof as a father would need in order to, they share a common father.
When it comes to marriage, immigration often suspects fraud. For this reason, it is important to have good evidence, including the marriage certificate. If either party to the marriage has been married previously, then they will need to produce documentation showing that they have been released from that previous marriage and that the current marriage is valid (this is true also when proving a father-child relationship).
Beyond this, the parties will have to prove that the current marriage is a real marriage and is not being done only for the purposes of immigration. In most cases, proof of having a child together suffices as proof of a real marriage. Other forms of proof of a real marriage might include evidence of mixed finances (e.g. joint bank accounts, shared utility bills), proof that the couple lives together, photos of the couple, and love letters between the couple. If nothing else, evidence in the form of sworn statements from friends and family members who know about the relationship can be provided.
All of this evidence is necessary for the petition itself; additional documentation will be required later on in the process, or with the petition if the couple is seeking a one-step adjustment of status. For example, tax returns backing up the affidavit of support form might be necessary. In determining how much income documentation should be submitted, it is best to seek legal advice. This is because if income was unstable two or three years prior to filing but was stable the year before filing, then it might be best to submit only the most recent income information. However, if the applicant can show an income that has consistently been high enough to sponsor the relative, then it would be beneficial to provide all of that documentation.
Adjustment of status can be sought by a person who is in the US and meets the requirements for adjustment of status. One of the most important requirements is proof of having entered the US legally or having received some status later that waives this requirement. Which statuses waive the requirement is an extremely complicated legal question and the answer changes over time. For example, there are ongoing court challenges over whether Temporary Protected Status (TPS) has this benefit. If you came illegally, later got a work permit, but don’t really know what your status is, there’s a good chance that you have TPS, and you need to talk to a lawyer before applying for a green card.
For someone who is outside the US or who does not have proof of lawful entry into the US, consular processing will be required. This involves returning to the home country for an interview; if the individual cannot return to their home country for some reason, then they can request that the interview be done somewhere else. During consular processing, a police certificate from the home country demonstrating a clean criminal record would be required. If the individual does not have a clean criminal record, then all relevant police reports and docket sheets would have to be provided.
For more information on Documents For Permanent Residency Petition, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (617) 297-7502 today.