Join Club

Statutes of Liberty: If You Think a “Sponsor” Can Get You a Green Card, You’re Probably Confused

This sponsored column is by James Montana, Esq., Doran Shemin, Esq. and Laura Lorenzo, Esq., practicing attorneys at Steelyard LLC, an immigration-focused law firm located in Arlington, Virginia. The legal information given here is general in nature. If you want legal advice, contact James for an appointment.

In the wonderful world of immigration, legal terminology matters hugely. In this column, we’ll explain what a few of the most important words mean, so our loyal readers (hi, commenters!) can understand more clearly what our clients have to learn. The three words of the day are: Petitioner, sponsor and admissible.

There are three layers to every green card application. The first layer is figuring out who the petitioner is. Sometimes clients refer to petitioners as sponsors. For example, many clients say “I have a U.S. citizen who can sponsor me.” The accurate way of putting it is that the U.S. citizen is petitioning the U.S. government to allow you, the client, the benefit of becoming a permanent resident.

Family members can serve as petitioners. U.S. citizens can file petitions for spouses, children, parents and siblings, and permanent residents can file petitions for spouses and children. Companies can file petitions for employees or potential employees. However, just because the immigrant has a family member who can petition for her does not mean that she automatically qualifies for a green card.

The second layer is finding a sponsor. A sponsor is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who agrees to serve as a financial guarantor; the sponsor is liable in a civil action if the new permanent resident receives certain government benefits or falls below the poverty threshold. Not all petitioners are good sponsors because the U.S. government demands that the sponsor have enough financial resources to serve as a guarantor. Under such circumstances, you need a second sponsor as a backup. That sponsor is liable in precisely the same way if the new permanent resident falls on hard times.

Got a petitioner and a sponsor? Good, you might be eligible, but we still need to figure out whether you are admissible. To determine this, thorough immigration lawyers ask you a laundry list of questions. For example, “Did you enter the United States by crossing the border without a visa, or did you come through an airport with a visa?” and “Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a crime?”

Criminal convictions frequently render an immigrant inadmissible. For example, sometimes a misdemeanor theft offense can render a person ineligible for a green card. Another common example is crossing the border without a visa or entering the United States multiple times in that manner.

In some cases, this is fixable via an application for a waiver, which adds a fourth layer of complexity (and cost) to the case. But it all depends on the family relationships that the immigrant has. In the case of someone who enters the United States across the border without a visa, the immigrant must have a spouse or parent that is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. On top of that, the immigrant has to prove that the spouse or parent will suffer extreme hardship if they are separated or must relocate to the immigrant’s home country. Notice that having U.S. citizen or permanent resident children does not help in these circumstances.

To waive criminal convictions, the immigrant must have a spouse, parent or child that will suffer extreme hardship. However, some criminal convictions cannot be waived. For example, many controlled substance convictions make an immigrant permanently inadmissible.

Determining whether someone is eligible to get a green card is a complex issue that, as we can see, requires multiple layers of analysis. We recommend that immigrants work with reputable attorneys during their green card journey.

As always, we would love to hear your thoughts and we will do our best to respond.

Recent Stories

Last week, after years of housing policy discussion, the Arlington County Board made the bold move of rezoning most of the county’s residential areas. The unanimous final vote did not…

Morning Notes

Post Office Dedicated to Mail Carrier — “Local leaders, family members of Jesus Collazos and community members gathered at the U.S. Post Office on N. George Mason Drive in Arlington…

Good Friday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 21693 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…

Today may be rainy, but in general the weather is getting warmer, the cherry blossoms are in peak bloom, and it’s a great time to get out of the house….

Synetic Theater Camps are a wildly fun, highly accessible choice for young people who love moving, playing games, and making memories. Registration is open now for Summer Camps (sessions June 20-August 25) and there are even a few spots left for Spring Break camp, April 3­-7.

Located in National Landing, these performance-based camps are designed for students of all ages – no theater or performance experience required.

Led by professional teaching artists, campers learn acting, movement, and technical theater skills through the lens of Physical Theater. Physical Theater incorporates acting, movement, dance, mime, and acrobatics. If you’ve seen a Cirque du Soleil performance, you’ll find many similarities.

Most first-time campers are new to the performing arts, and teaching artists are well-versed in engaging students at all levels. Parents and campers report that one of the best parts of Synetic is the community, with many families returning year after year because they feel a strong sense of belonging.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

EDBS Dental Billing Solutions is pleased to announce that it has achieved compliance with the federally mandated standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) through the use of Compliancy Group’s proprietary HIPAA methodology, The Guard® compliance tracking software, and HIPAA Seal of Compliance®.

The HIPAA Seal of Compliance is issued to organizations that have implemented an effective HIPAA compliance program through the use of The Guard, Compliancy Group’s proprietary compliance tracking solution.

Clients and patients are becoming more aware of the requirements of HIPAA compliance and how the regulation protects their personal information. Forward-thinking providers like EDBS Dental Billing Solutions choose the HIPAA Seal of Compliance to differentiate their services.

“Since the nature of our business being exclusively remote, we take HIPAA compliance very seriously. With the help of Compliancy Group, we are able to take steps to fortify our systems to protect PHI information and familiarize each employee about HIPAA and how we can further safeguard PHI data.” said EDBS Dental Billing Solutions founder Goldie De Leon.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

WHS Spring Festival

Join us at the WHS Spring Festival on April 22, 2023, from 10am- 3pm at Wakefield High School(main parking lot). Come out to shop, play, and eat!

Shop local vendors, arts & crafts, new and used items, food vendors/trucks, and

District 27 Toastmasters 2023 Virtual Conference

District 27 Toastmasters invites you to its annual conference where you can hear phenomenal speakers, attend professional development and personal growth seminars about leadership, negotiation, communication, teamwork, and mentorship. Learn how to develop your personal story and how to improve


Subscribe to our mailing list