Immigrant Visa Domicile Requirements – If you have filed USCIS Form I-130 for an Immediate relative, you are a sponsor. The sponsor for the immigration of an immediate relative to the United States on an immigrant visa must be able to meet the domicile requirements, and financial sponsorship requirements through USCIS Form I-864, in order to be a sponsor. If you cannot meet both the domicile and financials requirements, then you will not qualify as a sponsor. Make sure you understand and meet the domicile requirements if you are sponsoring an immediate relative for U.S. Permanent Residence (Green Card). Call a U.S. Immigration Lawyer for assistance.
Immigrant Visa Domicile Requirements
What does domicile mean for an immigrant visa? Domicile is where a sponsor has their principal “residence” with the intention to maintain that residence for the foreseeable future. To qualify as a sponsor for an immigrant visa, you must be domiciled in any of the States of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any territory or possession of the United States. A lawful permanent resident (LPR) sponsor also must maintain his or her LPR status. A sponsor who is not currently living in the United States may meet the domicile requirement if they can prove any of the following:
- The sponsor is employed by certain organizations, see below.
- The sponsor is living abroad temporarily and has maintained his or her domicile in the United States.
- The sponsor intends in good faith to establish his or her domicile in the United States no later than the date of the intending immigrant’s admission to the United States.
What kinds of employment abroad can be counted as U.S. domicile? A U.S. citizen who is living abroad temporarily is considered to be domiciled in the United States if the citizen is employed by certain organizations, including:
- Employment temporarily stationed abroad with the U.S. government.
- Employment temporarily stationed abroad with a U.S. institution of research recognized by the Secretary of Homeland Security.
- Employment temporarily stationed abroad with a U.S. firm or corporation or its subsidiary engaged in whole or in part in the development of foreign trade and commerce with the United States.
- Employment temporarily stationed abroad with a public international organization in which the United States participates by treaty or statute.
- Employment temporarily stationed abroad with a religious denomination/group having a genuine organization within the United States.
- Employment temporarily stationed abroad as a missionary by a religious denomination/group or by an interdenominational mission organization within the United States.
How can a sponsor maintain U.S. domicile while living abroad temporarily? Many U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents reside outside the United States on a temporary basis. “Temporary” may cover an extended period of residence abroad. The sponsor living abroad must establish the following in order to be considered domiciled in the United States:
- He/she departed the United States for a limited and not indefinite period of time,
- He/she intended to maintain a domicile in the United States, and
He/she has evidence of continued ties to the United States.
How to prove your stay abroad is temporary? A sponsor can prove their stay abroad is temporary and that they have maintained a domicile in the United States as follows:
- A voting record in the United States
- Records of paying U.S. state or local taxes
- Having property in the United States
- Maintaining bank or investment accounts in the United States
- Having a permanent mailing address in the United States
- Other proof such as evidence that the sponsor is a student studying abroad or that a foreign government has authorized a temporary stay
How can you establish a domicile? You can also demonstrate that you meet the domicile requirement through the following:
- You have already taken up physical residence in the United States; or
- You have taken concrete steps to establish a domicile in the United States and will do so concurrently with the applicant no later than the date of the intending immigrant’s admission.
When does the sponsor have to come to the USA? The sponsor does not have to precede the applicant to the United States but, if they do not do so, they must arrive in the United States concurrently with the applicant. Evidence that the sponsor has established a domicile in the United States and is either physically residing there or intends to do so before or concurrently with the applicant may include the following:
- Opening a bank account
- Transferring funds to the United States
- Making investments in the United States
- Seeking employment in the United States
- Securing a residence in the United States
- Registering children in U.S. schools
- Applying for a Social Security number
- Voting in local, State, or Federal elections