What Exactly Is Considered Family-Based Immigration?
Family-Based Immigration is any kind of immigration based on your family relationship to someone else. This type of immigrant seeks a green card based on having a spouse, parent, child or sibling who is a U.S. citizen or, in some cases, who has a green card.
What Are The Most Common Types Of Evidence Families Will Need To Apply For Legal Immigration Into The United States?
It really depends on the nature of the relationship. The first basic purpose of evidence is proving that the person petitioning for the other person has either a green card or U.S. citizenship that would allow them to petition in the first place. The second basic purpose of evidence is to show that the family relationship that’s being claimed actually exists. In some cases, that might be really simple. If you’re a U.S. citizen petitioning for your sibling and you have the same parents, all you need is your birth certificate, your naturalization certificate (if you have one), and their birth certificate.
Proving the relationship can be more complicated if, for example, you have the same father but not the same mother. You are still eligible to petition for them, but proving that you share a father, especially if he’s not on one or both of the birth certificates, can cause problems. Your parents would either have had to be married at the time of birth or your father has to have gone through whatever the country of birth recognizes as the legitimation process for recognizing a child as his. The proof that you’ll need in that situation varies from country to country.
The most complicated evidence is usually for marriage-based petitions. The government is very concerned about people entering into fraudulent marriages just for immigration purposes, and so you have to prove that it’s a real marriage, which can take a lot of evidence, depending on the whims of the officer reviewing the application and whether they suspect the marriage is false. If you have kids together, that typically makes it a lot easier because their birth certificates will have both of your names. The government assumes that if you have kids together, you must like each other at least a little bit, so they’ll accept that as a real marriage.
For couples who don’t have children together, that can get really complicated. There’s a common-sense standard for evidence, including anything that proves you live together (your lease or a mortgage, utility bills, etc.) and that proves you’ve merged your finances together (statements from joint bank accounts, cards from your joint insurance carriers, etc.). Photos of you together, affidavits from friends or family who should know about your relationship, and text messages and call logs with each other can also be important—whatever you can think of that proves that it’s a real relationship.
Who Specifically Can Be A Sponsor?
The first thing is that the petitioner has to be a sponsor. The question is whether they can sponsor you alone or whether they need a joint sponsor. The government basically doesn’t want to admit people who are going to come here and rely on benefits instead of getting a job, so they want someone who can be financially responsible for the immigrant and ensure they are able to live a lifestyle that’s reasonably above the poverty level without government benefits. You need to have a household income that’s at least 125% of the poverty level for the size of your household (which includes yourself and any spouse or children that live with you). You have a legal responsibility to support the person you’re petitioning. If you’ve already petitioned someone else for a green card and you’re still responsible for them, they will count against your household size for the purpose of determining how much income you need to petition for a second person.
If you need a joint sponsor, then the requirements for them are that they have to be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident who is domiciled in the US, which means they either live in the US or remain here. They also have to have enough income that their income (counting the new immigrant as a member of their household) would be above 125% of the poverty level. Those are the requirements, and in theory, anyone who meets those requirements could be a joint sponsor. However, as a practical matter, the government wants some assurance that this person is actually going to live up to their obligations, so an uncle or another obvious family relation or someone with obvious reason to support this person is going to be better than a random friend who lacks an obvious connection.