Family Immigration: Steps to Sponsoring Your Loved Ones

Family sponsorship is an excellent alternative for anyone looking to permanently relocate to the United States.

One may be eligible for a Family Sponsorship Visa if they have a family member in the United States who is a citizen or a lawful permanent resident (a green card holder).

Below is a step-by-step guide to sponsoring your loved ones’ immigration to the United States.

Muslim parents embracing their childlren; happy immigrant family

File Form I-130

The first step is to submit a Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130, to the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS ), requesting that the family member be granted immigration to the United States.

Only certain relatives are eligible for sponsorship by a US citizen, including children, siblings, and parents if the citizen is more than 21 years of age.

Before proceeding to the National Visa Center, your immigrant petition must be approved by USCIS. If USCIS approves your petition, the National Visa Center (NVC) will send you a welcome letter.

NVC Visa Processing

Following USCIS approval, the immigrant’s case file will be transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing.

Pay Fees

As the NVC processes your case, you can check your status and send and receive messages using the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC).

You can also pay the processing fees through this portal, as mentioned in your welcome letter. There are two fees to be paid are the Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee and the Affidavit of Support Fee.

File an affidavit of Support

An Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) is a document that an individual sign to take financial responsibility for an applicant immigrating to the United States.

This is a legally binding contract. The petitioner must fill out Form I-864. Nevertheless, if the petitioner’s income is inadequate, a joint-sponsor may agree to file an I-864 on their behalf.

Provide Financial Evidence

After completing the Affidavit of Support form, the financial sponsor should collect evidence of their finances and civil documents.

Complete Online Visa Application

After you have paid your fees and the status in CEAC has been updated to ‘PAID’, you must complete the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration (Form DS-260).

Log into your CEAC case and select the ‘START NOW’ button under IV Application on the summary page to complete your Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application.

Collect, Scan, Upload, and Submit Civil Documents

After completing your DS-260(s), you need to gather the civil documents necessary to support your visa application. Your civil documents must be issued by the issuing body in your country.

Additionally, the documents must be scanned in accordance with the NVC guidelines.

To submit documents, log in to CEAC and use the “Start Now” button under Affidavit of Support Documents and Civil Documents.

When you’ve uploaded all of the necessary documents for every section, click “Submit Documents”. The “Submit Documents” buttons won’t work until you have uploaded all the necessary documents.

When you click the “Submit Documents” button, your case will be queued for review at the National Visa Center.

Applicant’s Interview

If approved, the NVC will schedule a visa interview and notify both the petitioner and the applicant. Before the interview, you should schedule to have a medical checkup.

On the specified date and time of your interview, bring your printed visa application (DS-260) confirmation page to the US Embassy.

A consular officer will interview you to assess if you are eligible to acquire an immigrant visa. Ink-free digital fingerprint scans will be taken during the interview.

After the interview, the consular officer will notify the applicant if their visa has been approved or denied. 

If the application is approved, the immigrant will receive detailed information about when their visa and passport will be ready for pickup.

If the application is rejected, you and the applicant will be informed of the legal reasons behind the rejection.