Requirements to Invite a Relative to the United States
- To sponsor a relative, or invite him to the U.S., you must meet eligibility requirements. For example, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) requires you to be a U.S. citizen through birth or naturalization, or a permanent resident. Also, you can only invite certain relatives to the U.S, such as a spouse, married or unmarried children, parents or siblings.
- An U.S. citizen or permanent resident can’t simply invite a family member to reside in the country. You have to file a petition called the Petition for Alien Relative, or Form I-130, to start the sponsorship process. The form establishes that a family relationship exist between you and your family member. Another form you’re required to complete is the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, or Form I-485. You can complete the Form I-485 before or after the USCIS approves your sponsorship petition. As of July 2011, you pay a $1,070 filing fee to file the Form I-485 and $420 filing fee for Form I-130.
- The Affidavit of Support, or Form I-864, is another document you must file. Unlike the other forms, it doesn’t have a filing fee. You’re responsible for filing Form I-864 because the USCIS requires you to prove that you’re financially able to support your relative once she’s in the country. The USCIS wants assurance that neither your or your family member may become reliant on governmental welfare agencies for financial support. Thus, you must submit proof of self-employment or current employment to meet requirements. Providing proof involves submitting to the USCIS photocopies of your most recent completed federal income tax return.
- If you don’t have your most recent federal tax returns, the USCIS allows you to send an Internal Revenue Service-issued transcript of your most recent return. You may have to provide your W-2 forms or 1099 forms too. If you’re sponsoring a family member more than 70-years-old, the cost to file Form I-485 is $985 as of July 2011.