Do I Need a Sponsor to Become a United States Citizen?

Immigration is a very complex issue, and it becomes even more complicated when a sponsorship is involved. A sponsorship is an important step to citizenship for many people. However, it is necessarily required. It might seem that it is essential to successfully immigrate, but there are circumstances in which a sponsor is not required. Whether a sponsorship is required depends on multiple factors and varies by case. A lawyer can help their client with the sponsorship and immigration process.

What are the Basics of a Sponsorship?

A citizen of a nation such as the United States holds certain inalienable rights and duties of that nation, such as voting rights or military or government service.  It is important to understand that in order to become a United States citizen, a foreign national first needs to obtain Legal Permanent Resident status or what is known as Green Card status.

An immigrant might need sponsorship to become a Green Card holder. A sponsor is someone such as a U.S. citizen spouse, adult child, parent, sibling or U.S. employer who files paperwork on behalf of the foreign national to support his or her application for Green Card status.  The sponsor would also help the applicant to get a permanent resident card by signing an affidavit of support. An affidavit of support is an important document that is a vital part of the path to legal permanent residency for many immigrants. More than a simple document, it is a contract signed by the sponsor that designates the signer will support the immigrant financially. The affidavit of support shows that the immigrant is unlikely to become a public charge. A public charge refers to an individual who is dependent on the United States government.

The federal government wants to ensure that any new immigrant is going to do their part and help the economy and not be a burden. This is another area that is very complex due to the continuously changing legal processes and laws. For example, during the Trump presidency, there were several procedural changes that changed the criteria for what defines a public charge. During the Biden administration, the process changed again with some new executive orders.

Can I Get a Permanent Resident Card Without a Sponsor?

Many immigrants bring new resources and contribute to the workforce. Educational and work opportunities provide immigrants with more options within the United States. Some people immigrate to the United States for work, and some come for educational opportunities or for family reasons.

A permanent resident status allows a person to live and work permanently in the United States. However, there are a series of steps required to apply for a permanent resident card. Certain situations will allow a person to immigrate without a sponsor. A lawyer can help a person decide the right path.

Employment-Based Visas

Employment-based visas fall under several preference categories.  An employment-based visa can fall under a first preference category for someone wanting to immigrate to the United States based on their extraordinary ability.  First-preference employment-based visas are specifically for those with extraordinary achievements in their professions. This can apply to those in fields related to science, arts, business, education, and even athletics. There are certain requirements an applicant must fulfill, and a lawyer might be able to help with any issues.

To qualify for a first-preference EB-1 visa, the applicant must be able to show proof that they possess extraordinary achievements that are significantly beyond what is typically obtained in a particular field. This is where it is important for an applicant to be able to demonstrate that they have skills that will benefit the United States. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has put together a list of criteria for applications. Criteria for demonstrating an extraordinary ability include:

  • Documentation of any lesser-known awards for excellence or documentation of a membership of a prestigious association in the field.
  • Documentation of national or international awards for excellence in the specific field.
  • Published material in major media or trade publications covering one’s work in the field. The publication must include the date, title, and the author’s name.
  • Any evidence that that shows that the applicant has judged the works of others in their field either as a member of a panel or individually.
  • Any scholarly articles published by the applicant.
  • Evidence of athletic, artistic, or business-related contributions that can enhance their community.
  • Any work of the applicant that has been displayed at major artistic showcases or exhibits.
  • Documented history of performing in a leadership role within the applicant’s field.
  • Demonstration that the applicant commands a higher salary than other professionals in the field.
  • Documented media successes in the performing arts.

Why is it Important to Hire an Immigration Lawyer?

It may be tempting for some immigrants to want to skip legal representation and go through the process on their own. The problem is that the process can be quite complex and difficult, especially if one needs a sponsor. Some people wishing to immigrate may not even know where to begin. A lawyer who specializes in immigration will have the necessary tools and insight to achieve the best results for their client.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Have the Knowledge and Resources to Help Those Seeking Citizenship

If you are seeking citizenship and have questions about the process or a sponsorship, the knowledgeable Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. have the tools to get you the answers you need. We understand that immigration is complicated and that the path to citizenship is an important part of life for many people. For more information and to schedule an initial, private consultation, complete our online form or call us at 215-925-4435. We are conveniently located in Philadelphia, and we proudly serve clients throughout the state and nationwide.