Immigration Law - A Key Provision Of The Family Sponsored Visa Program

The first aspect of any new legislation is the statutory definition that it incorporates. The Immigration and Accountability Act of 1996, or FAMA, as it is more commonly known, was introduced by U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and has become a cornerstone of U.S. Federal immigration policy. Like most legislative documents, the definition of a "family sponsored immigration law" in this Act refers to the variation of family-related motivations for immigration, rather than a single reason. Familiarizing oneself with the basic definitions can help identify which section of the Act best suits one's proposed classification of immigrant eligibility. In addition, familiarity with the relevant statute's text can help determine whether a proposed regulation conflicts with any provision of the Act.

A. The sponsors of an alien spouse's application for immigration are referred to as the sponsors. Under the terms of the Act, the spouses may themselves be sponsored, or they may be sponsored by their parents, spouses, or children. It is understood that a child who would otherwise be eligible under the Adjudication Clause of the Immigration Act cannot be the sponsors' children under the Act. The sponsors are also described as the individuals who initially bring the spouse or children of another individual into the United States.

B. Within the Act, there are two main classifications of family-based sponsors: sponsors of spouses and sponsors of parents or spouses. For example, a U.S. citizen who becomes a lawful permanent resident of a foreign country after joining an American family should not be considered a sponsor of that person's spouse under the Act if the marriage to which he/she is joining did not exist at the time the citizen acquired his or her U.S. citizenship.

C. There are also special provisions that deal with sponsors of relatives. In general, the relatives are described in greater detail in the familial sponsorship section of the Act than the spouses. The sponsor must generally have been a citizen of the country in which the alien is arriving or has been a resident of that country for at least five years. However, sponsorship does not need to be continuous. A Sponsorship may be granted on either a temporary or permanent basis.

D. The Alien Family Lawyer assists applicants in filling the F visa application. When the alien spouse or any other family member applies for immigration under the approved marital status or green card, the sponsor must accompany the application. The sponsor must file an application for the immigration under the name of the principal applicant (i.e., the husband of the lawful permanent resident woman). If the sponsor is unable to obtain the status, he can file a request to the federal court for an order to the effect that he or she is not the principal applicant. The request must contain the reason that the sponsor is not the principal applicant.

E. The GIFY law restricts the issuance of green cards to immigrants coming from certain foreign countries and also to people who are likely to become financially dependent on the United States prior to leaving their country of origin. An immigrant relative who is subject to the provisions of the GIFY law cannot receive a green card. Thus, lawful permanent residence is not possible for the sponsor who is not a United States national. This provision also prohibits the sponsorship of spouses and children of certain non-immigrant parents who intend to marry people who have entered the United States illegally. The sponsor must be a lawful permanent resident and must not be a dependent of another person. A valid social security number and proof of financial capability to pay taxes are essential requirements.

F. A legally adopted child of a U.S. citizen who is a dependent of the sponsor will not be considered for immigration if the sponsor has obtained a green card or has been eligible for deportation. An adopted child is a child born outside of the United States to a U.S. parent who is legally present in the United States at the time of the birth. The sponsor must have provided proof that he or she is providing shelter, including an income earned outside of the United States, to the child. Sponsors who lie on their application are subject to criminal penalties.

G. The GIFY act does not apply to relatives who are green card eligible or to temporary workers or non-immigrant visitors who are authorized to work in the United States under the laws of the United States or any state that does not have a green card requirement for green card eligibility. Therefore, family members of US citizens who are sponsored through a green card application are not subject to the provisions of the Immigration Law. A sponsored visa is a status that a foreign national is accorded after being granted permission to reside permanently in the United States. Sponsored visas do not exclude a lawful permanent resident who has previously become a US citizen or is the spouse and child of a United States citizen.

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