Immigrate through Family Sponsorship in Decatur, GA


Living apart from your immediate family members can be very challenging for all individuals involved. There may be certain circumstances where you are separated from your spouse, children, parents, and/or siblings who are living in a different country from you. Many different circumstances may have brought this separation, but the United States has a program wherein you may be able to have green cards granted for your family members so that you no longer have to live apart from the ones you love.

In the United States, citizens may petition for permanent resident status (green cards) for their immediate family members. Permanent residents of the United States may also petition for green cards for their spouse and children. The citizen or permanent resident is known as the sponsor, and the individual(s) receiving the green card(s) are the beneficiaries. There are very strict rules and regulations that must be followed in order to have the best possible chance at obtaining a green card for your family, so it is best to have an immigration lawyer help you with paperwork and ensuring that you have submitted all of the necessary documentation to the United States government.

Who Can Be Sponsored?

If you are a United States citizen or permanent resident, you may be able to sponsor one or more of your immediate family members who are living in another country. Citizens can sponsor spouses, children, parents, and siblings; lawful permanent residents are limited to only sponsoring their spouses and children.

The process of filing for green cards for your immediate family members can be lengthy, so it is important that you begin as soon as you can and ensure that you family members are able to get the process started in their country as well. You, as the sponsor, must first file a petition to sponsor your relative with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS needs to approve the petition before your relative can apply for an immigrant visa with the U.S. consulate in the country in which they currently reside. They must have a visa number available for the category of their petition. If your relative already lives in the U.S., they may be eligible to remain in the country and apply for permanent resident status.

Family-Based Green Card Processing Time

The processing time and the actual granting of a green card for a family member is a complicated question because of the way that the government has divided this particular category of visa. There are two primary categories of family-based green cards: immediate relative green cards and the family preference green card. 

The immediate relative green cards have a higher preference over the family-based ones because they do not have an annual limit. This means that there are always green cards available as long as the sponsor and applicant are eligible. Secondly, there is no green card waiting line meaning that the processing of application petitions (I-130 and I-485) begins as soon as they are received. If the applicant is already in the United States, the two petitions can be processed concurrently which will shorten the time it takes. Generally, 6-12 months is the expected time for processing. If the applicant lives outside of the U.S., then they must wait until the I-130 petition is approved and the applicant’s priority date becomes current before they can actually apply for the green card. This can greatly lengthen the processing time, depending on the caseload of the country’s embassy or consulate.

The family preference category of green cards does have a limit to the number of visas permitted annually and per country. This along with the subcategory that you are placed in (F1, F2, F3, F4) will determine your wait for processing. Citizens of certain countries may have to wait 10-20 years before their priority date becomes current.

Top Reasons Your Green Card Might Be Denied

The rules and regulations for immigration using family-based green card applications are very strict and complicated. There are a variety of reasons why a green card application may be denied, so it is critical that you are aware of these factors and ensure that you do not meet any of them. This will provide you the best possible chance of an approval of your green card application. Some of the top reasons that green cards are denied include:

  • Health reasons

    • You have a communicable disease with no vaccine documentation

    • Refuse to have vaccine

    • Drug abuse or addiction

    • Physical or mental condition which makes you a danger to yourself or others

  • Criminal reasons

    • Crimes of “moral turpitude”

    • Multiple crimes

    • Drug trafficking

    • Prostitution

    • Commercialized vice

    • Money laundering

    • Severe violations of religious freedoms as a foreign official

    • Fraud 

  • Security reasons

    • Terrorist activities

    • Former or current member of Nazi or totalitarian parties

    • Genocide 

    • Membership in a group adverse to U.S. foreign policy

  • Likelihood of becoming a public charge

  • Immigration violations

    • Stowing away

    • Entry through misrepresentation

    • Failure to attend immigration removal proceedings

    • Abuse of visa process

  • Failure to meet application requirements

These are some of the most common reasons that green card applications are denied. To ensure that you qualify for a green card and that your application has the best chance of approval, contact the expert immigration lawyers at Elliott Immigration Law in Decatur, Georgia.

Contact Decatur’s Immigration Experts!

At Elliott Immigration Law in Decatur, Georgia, our experienced immigration attorneys understand how hard it can be to be separated from your family. We are dedicated to helping to reunite families legally through the U.S. immigration process. If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and want to sponsor your immediate family members for family-based green cards, contact Elliott Immigration Law to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.