When Should You Hire a Family Immigration Attorney to Help Bring Your Parents to the United States?
If you're a US citizen and you're trying to obtain a green card for your parents, you may be wondering if you need to hire a family immigration attorney. You don't need an attorney to fill out immigration forms, and you may already be experienced with the system if you're an immigrant yourself. Many people do decide to obtain permanent residency for their parents without involving an attorney, and it often works without problems. However, it's not always the best choice in all circumstances. If you're trying to help your parents obtain permanent residency in the United States, read on to find out when you may want to seek the services of a family immigration attorney.
Your Parents Have a Criminal History
If your parents have any form of criminal history, no matter how minor, it's a good idea to seek the help of a family immigration attorney before you begin the process of bringing them to the United States. Aside from a few serious charges (such as murder), a criminal history won't bar someone from becoming a permanent resident. However, failing to disclose criminal convictions can result in someone being denied permanently.
In order to reduce the risk of this happening, you should have an immigration attorney help you collect supportive documents that detail your parents' entire criminal history, including the results from any cases that went to court. A family immigration attorney can also help your parents apply for waivers if they have a criminal record that would hinder their chances of being approved for permanent residency.
Your Family Situation Is Complicated
You'll need to provide supporting documents that prove your parents' relationship to you. This is easy in most cases. You'll need to provide immigration officials with your birth certificate in order to demonstrate that they're your parents, and you'll also need to provide marriage records to show that they're married to each other.
If you're trying to bring a stepparent to the United States or if your parents are unmarried, however, then providing the documentation that immigration needs becomes more difficult. For stepparents, you'll need to provide divorce records and marriage records. For unmarried parents, you'll need to prove that both parents had a significant presence in your life and provided financial support. If your family situation is unusual, an immigration attorney can help you find out which documents that you need to prove your relationship to your parents.
Your Parents Have Been on Welfare Before
One facet of the US immigration system is that they don't allow people to become permanent residents if they would require government benefits. This is one reason why you're required to prove that you can support your parents financially when you're trying to obtain permanent residency for them. If your parents have received government benefits from their home country in the past, then the scrutiny becomes tighter, as it causes immigration to believe that they're more likely to require them in the future. In this case, a family immigration attorney can help you prove that you're able to support them financially and that they're unlikely to ever require state aid once they become permanent residents, which makes their application more likely to be approved.
Overall, the main reason to involve a family immigration attorney when you're trying to obtain permanent residency for your parents is that an attorney can help you navigate irregular situations. A criminal history or complicated parental relationship makes it more difficult for your parents to be approved successfully. While you always have the option of filing forms on your own, hiring a family immigration attorney to help you fill out the forms and provide the required documentation will reduce the risk that you'll be denied due to an error or omitted information.