Processing Time and Sponsorship for Relatives of U.S. Citizens
United States citizens can sponsor relatives for immigration to the United States. However, certain family members are at a higher priority. Immediate relatives can immigrate without being subjected to the numerical quota restrictions. Parents of U.S. citizens are immediate relatives, as well as a spouse and children. They can apply for a green card without the requisite waiting time associated with the quota restrictions.
Other relatives, such as siblings and unmarried sons and daughters, fall into several preference categories and are subject to a numerical limit for immigration, causing a wait time of several years before an application is even processed. Unmarried adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens enjoy first preference under this category while siblings are given fourth preference.
Concerns for Other Family Members
Stepparents can qualify for citizenship if they became a stepparent to the U.S. citizen before they turned 18 years old. Adopted parents also qualify if the parent adopted the U.S. citizen before they turned 16 years old. In-laws do not qualify as parents. An unmarried child under the age of 21 can qualify for U.S. citizenship, as well as an adopted child whose adoption was finalized before their 16th birthday. However, in the case of a stepchild, the parental marriage must have occurred before the stepchild’s 18th birthday.
Immigration form I-130 begins the process of sponsoring a parent. Parents are screened for criminal offenses, contagious diseases, and national security concerns. If they have a clean record and pass the health exams, they can immigrate, provided that the U.S. citizen has sufficient funds to support their parents financially.
After the I-130 application is processed, if the parent is outside the U.S., they will have to go to the U.S. consulate and undergo consular processing. If all goes well, the parent can enter the U.S. on a green card. However, if the parent is in the U.S. when their I-130 application is processed, the parent can then file form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the I-130 application was properly filed, a receipt of confirmation will arrive within two to three weeks of filing. If the application was incorrectly filed, a notice of action will either reject the application or request additional proof or information.
If the application was improperly filed, it can lead to considerable amounts of delay. It is important to prepare the applications thoroughly to avoid unnecessary delays. In the current anti-immigrant climate and policies, it is highly likely that the USCIS will look to every opportunity to reject or delay the immigration process. What used to take eight to 10 months to process an immediate relative application can take more than one to two years of processing time.
Philadelphia Citizenship Lawyers at the Law Offices of Tahir Mella, P.C. Provide Experienced Legal Counsel
If you have an immigration concern, consult with an experienced Philadelphia citizenship lawyer at the Law Offices of Tahir Mella, P.C. today. We understand the complexities regarding visa and citizenship forms and will help you through the process. Contact us online or call us at 215-496-0690 for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout the tri-state area, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide.