US Immigration News

How Does US Visa Sponsorship Work?

3.75 minute read
"Sponsorship in the United States is when a family member or an organization advocates for your immigrant visa and provides support and credibility to your application. Sponsorship generally includes financial support as well."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Aug 4, 2021
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Sponsorship in the United States is when a family member or an organization advocates for your immigrant visa and provides support and credibility to your application. Sponsorship generally includes financial support as well. 

Immigrant visas allow foreign nationals to apply for permanent residence, also known as the Green Card or by their official name of Permanent Resident Card. But sponsorship is not limited to citizens and permanent residents only. A business or an organization may help an individual to get a nonimmigrant work visa or a visitor visa like the H1-B Visa or J-1 Visa.

One needs to file a petition for visa sponsorship. This petition is filed by the US-based person or entity on the behalf of the foreign national. Once the petition is approved, the foreign national can apply for their desired visa program. 

How Does Sponsorship Work for Family-Based Visas?

Family-based visas are the most common form of obtaining a Green Card. Over 600,000 people receive their Green Cards through family-based petitions. Your US-based relative must submit Form I-864, Affidavit of Support and various other supporting documents to petition for your permanent residence. 

There is also the K-1 Visa Sponsorship. A K-1 Visa is also known as a fiance visa. It is for the engaged partner of a US citizen. The US citizen must file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Relative, to start the sponsorship process. Once the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) approves this petition, the engaged partner can apply for a K-1 Visa through a US embassy or consulate. The US citizen must also submit the Form I-134, Affidavit of Support to ensure that the K-1 Visa applicant will not become a public charge and will be financially supported during their stay in the US. 

How Does Sponsorship Work for Visitor Visas?

All visitors have a specific purpose for visiting the US. It is expected of the visitors to return to their home country after completion of their purpose of visit. For example, the F-1 Visa holders travel to the US for study purposes, B-2 Visa holders may visit the US for business purposes, visiting family members or other leisure activities.
No matter the reason, the US government expects the visitor to have enough financial resources to support themselves and to return at the end of their visit. Having a US citizen sponsor your visitor visa can help the approval process.
Generally, visa sponsorship is not required for a visitor visa. But having a family member or a friend sponsor your visa gives reassurance that you will not become a public charge. To sponsor a visitor, the US citizen must submit Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, a letter of invitation, and evidence that they can financially support the expenses of your trip.

How Does Sponsorship Work for Employment-Based Visas?

US-based employers hire foreign workers when they are unable to find any US citizen or lawful permanent resident to fill their vacancy. This comes as an opportunity for foreign nationals to apply for an employment-based visa. These job opportunities may be temporary or permanent. The most famous work visa is the H-1B Visa, which is a temporary and easily renewable work visa.

Sponsorship for employment-based visas means supporting the work visa for highly skilled foreign workers. This is not a simple process. To sponsor the foreign worker, the US employer must demonstrate that they were unable to find a qualified American worker to fill the vacancy. If an organization is sponsoring a work visa for a foreign employee, they must submit a completed application along with labor certification paperwork and represent the petitioner for the visa.

Several existing databases will help you find a suitable job in the US and connect with potential employers who can sponsor your employment-based visa application.

Can You Self-Petition Your Visa in the United States?

Certain individuals may even be able to petition themselves for a Green Card. However, this is true for a very limited group of foreign workers.

To be able to self-petition, you must file Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, if you are part of one of the following categories:

  • As a widow or widower of a US citizen, you can self-petition within 2 years of their death, provided you were not legally separated or divorced at the time of their death and have not remarried 
  • Like battered spouses, children, or parents of US citizens, you can self-petition if you were a victim of violence or extreme cruelty from them
  • Certain special immigrants may self-petition if they are eligible under 1 of the various religious groups or special immigrant juveniles
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