Family Sponsorship

The principal problem with family sponsorships is the long waiting time required for an immigrant visa. With the exception of the immediate relatives of the U.S. citizens, (spouses, minor children and parents, who are not subject to any visa limits), the remaining family members must wait many years to complete their cases. Sometimes, as it is in the case of siblings of U.S. citizens, the waiting starts to approach comical proportions, since isn’t it a comedy to wait fifteen years for an immigration of one’s brother or sister?
The other family preferences are only slightly better, for none of them should be expected to end in less than five years. The major reason for this delay is the ever popular principle, that where there is a great demand and little supply, waiting is inevitable. Until U.S. Congress does increase the number of visas, set aside for the families of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, or worldwide desire to immigrate to the United States starts to abate, the visa queues will remain a sad reality in family sponsorships.
The category, however, causing the most emotions in some of our clients, is the spousal sponsorship. The fact alone, that at presently, it is one of a very few “openings” in the immigration law, automatically waiving some minor yet very common immigration violations, such as overstaying the visitor’s visa or undocumented employment, makes it a very attractive option for many foreigners to legalize status. The second element of its popularity is the relatively quick possibility of getting a work permit, (around three months), and the permanent residence itself, (around six months).

The Immigration Office is quite aware of the temptations which open up before the more corrupted United States citizens or their desperate spouses and is very vigil. The verification of the bona fides of a marriage is quite involved and the interview may be unpleasant. The key to success, of course, lies in the appropriate preparation of the case, because there are no guarantees that the declared love of the couple alone, will be sufficient to convince the officer of the union’s veracity. Those who are not successful are directed for a further, more unpleasant still, verification, through yet another, special interview, so called “Stokes interview”, with the potential deportation in the background.
An additional safeguard against any potential marriage fraud is the conditional status clause, which grants the sponsored foreigner a permanent residence on conditional basis for two years and requires yet another verification of marriage in the future.

Finally, it is necessary to mention another element of the family sponsorship, the so called affidavit of support. Such an affidavit is signed by the sponsor, taking upon himself or herself the responsibility for the costs of the maintenance of the sponsored immigrants. This responsibility is not cancelled by a possible divorce, annulment of the marriage or a pre-nuptial agreement.