Checklists are always a most useful tool. Having assisted thousands of individuals in their immigration matters, I believe it is important to have a clear understanding of any potential pitfalls prior to traveling. Here are some of items we cover in our office in our client preparation which I would like to share:
What are the major considerations and steps for U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents to US reestablish domicile and return to the US with their non-citizen family after Covid-19 travel restrictions have ended?
Planning is essential should you wish to file for family members to join you in the U.S. or travel back to the U.S. now that some of the travel restrictions have been lifted following Covid-19. There will likely be tax considerations and other financial issues to resolve and clarify. Therefore, it is an excellent idea to think it all through and use a checklist such as the one below to gather your documents and evaluate the best approach to your personal situation.
A. First Step – Establish U.S. Domicile
1. The affidavit of support which is filed on behalf of the non-citizen wishing to immigrate to the U.S. must be from the petitioning relative whether or not that Petitioner has US income or assets. The affiant must be domiciled in the U.S.for tax purposes.
2. If the Petitioner is domiciled abroad wishes to take up U.S. residence again they by taking steps to move there beginning with finding U.S. employment.
3. The Petitioner should locate a place to live.
4. The Petitioner can register any children in school.
5. The Petitioner should make arrangements to relinquish residence in the foreign country.
6. The Petitioner may enter the U.S. at the same time as the non-citizen with the intent to establish a US principal can establish domicile.
B. Second Step – Financial and Tax Analysis to Determine Household Size and Income Requirements for the Petitioner – the 125% guideline is determined based on household size.
1. Count the number of people to be considered in the household size. The household size includes sponsor, sponsor’s spouse, and sponsor’s children unless they are at least 18 and were not claimed as dependents.
2. Review tax returns of the Petitioner for last 3 years to determine whether they meet the 125% measurement.
3. Consult with a tax professional if Petitioner has not filed taxes during the last three years and bring any taxes up to date in accordance with the requirements.
4. If Petitioner’s income is not sufficient, they can provide evidence of other readily available assets to determinesufficiency of assets using:
a. Bank Statements for the last 12 months or statement from bank/financial officer
b. Stocks, bonds and cds with dates acquired
c. Other personal property
d. Real estate, including assets and income of other household members, may be provided
(Note- assets calculation formula – Formula for assets is as follows – asset value less offsetting liabilities must exceed the federal poverty guideline for the household number minus sponsor’s household income by at least 5 times. If the intending immigrant is the spouse or child of a USC (child over 18), the adjudicator may use 3 times the guidelines, rather than 5.)
C. Third Step – Determine Family Members’ Eligibility for Permanent Residence in the U.S.
1. Is the non-citizen an immediate relative of the U.S.C. For example, spouse, parent or child under 21? If so, the application can be fast tracked.
2. Is the non-citizen an adult child or sibling of the U.S.C.? If so, the Visa Bulletin should be consulted to determine visa availability and processing time.
3. Should the petition for the non-citizen be filed while the Petitioner still abroad?
4. What is the expected timing?
As always, since everyone’s case is different, we are here to assist you with your particular situation. Feel free to use our contact form HERE and provide us with more information (kept confidential) about your specific circumstances, along with your more personalized questions.
Photo credit: “airplane” by Kuster & Wildhaber Photography is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0