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Can a person who has filed bankruptcy sponsor a family member in their immigration petition

Pasadena, CA |

My sister became a US citizen 10 years ago. However, 8 years ago, she filed a bankruptcy. Currently, she lives out side of US. She planned to move back to the US in 2012.

Is it still possible if she files a petition for me and my son? We are currently living in a foreign country. Will her bankruptcy record affects the petition?

Thanks a lot

<< I'm posting this question for a dear friend of mine. She wanted to immigrate to the US. However, she wasn't sure whether if is worthwhile after she found out that her sister had filed bankruptcy 8 years ago. She was afraid that her case will be dismissed.

Attorney Answers 1


  1. If your sister is a US citizen, she is eligible to file an I-130 petition for you regardless of whether she has ever filed for bankruptcy or lives in the United States. A sibling preference petition is a family-based, 4th Preference petition, so it will take a long time for the petition to be approved (probably 2+ years), and then it will take several years BEYOND the approval of the petition before the "priority date" is current. Basically, the date the I-130 petition is filed is the "priority date" which essentially is the beneficiary's place in line. Because US immigration law has limits on how many people are allowed to immigrate based on sibling relationships, the line is extremely long, and so siblings of US citizens can easily wait 10 years before they are eligible to immigrate.

    You can read about the priority dates and preference categories in the US Dept of State's Visa Bulletin, the current one which is here: http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/bulletin/bulletin_4371.html (They are published monthly).

    At the end of the immigration process, that is, when the priority date is current, the US citizen sistser will need to file an I-864 affidavit of support (at least based on current rules), and that affidavit of support will require her to be domiciled in the US and to show that she has the financial means to support the beneficiary sibling. It is possible, however, to use a joint sponsor if the US citizen sponsor is able to meet the financial sponsorship requirements on her own.

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