Who Can Sponsor A Family Member for a Green Card?

Mario A. Godoy
Who Can Sponsor A Family Member for a Green Card?

A United States citizen, including naturalized citizens, can sponsor a family member for an immigrant visa to permanently enter the U.S. and receive Lawful Permanent Resident status, a green card.

  • A spouse or fiancé(e)
  • A parent
  • A sibling
  • A minor child
  • An adult child (regardless of marital status).

Foreign nationals in the U.S. who are green card holders can sponsor a spouse, a minor child or an unmarried adult child. Citizens and permanent residents who want to sponsor relatives to move to the United States to become a resident must have a certain level of earnings and agree to legally support their incoming family member(s).

Exceptions and Restrictions to Sponsoring a Family Member for a Green Card

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducts background and security checks on both the U.S. citizen or LPR sponsor and the family member they are sponsoring for a green card. The green card sponsor can be disqualified from sponsoring a family member to permanently enter the United States if:

  • they have certain criminal convictions
  • they do not have sufficient income to support their incoming family members
  • they do not legally agree to support their incoming family members while they are in the United States

U.S. immigration law says that convictions for certain “offenses against a minor” under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, part of the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 204(a)(l)(A)(viii), automatically disqualify a U.S. citizen from sponsoring a family member for a green card:

  • An offense (unless committed by a parent or guardian) involving kidnapping.
  • An offense (unless committed by a parent or guardian) involving false imprisonment.
  • Solicitation [of a minor] to engage in sexual conduct.
  • Use [of a minor] in a sexual performance.
  • Solicitation to practice prostitution.
  • Video voyeurism as described in section 1801 of title 18, United States Code.
  • Possession, production, or distribution of child pornography.
  • Criminal sexual conduct involving a minor or the use of the internet to facilitate or attempt such conduct.
  • Any conduct that by its nature is a sex offense against a minor.

Do You Want to Sponsor a Family Member for a Green Card?

A family immigration lawyer can streamline the process to sponsor a family member for a green card. The process of obtaining a green card for a family member can be complex and competitive. To help ensure that every step in the visa application process is completed to give the applicant the best opportunity for a speedy and successful outcome, a skilled immigration attorney can put their experience to work for you and review your circumstances to help you make the decisions to help you succeed. If you need help with applying for legal permanent resident status or another immigration issue, please contact our office at 630-912-0322.
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