To qualify as a sponsor for an immigrant visa, a petitioner 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 must also maintain his or her LPR status.) But what exactly is the “domicile requirement”—and how do you correctly fulfill it?
What does “domicile” mean?
Domicile is the place where a sponsor has his or her principal “residence,” with the intention to maintain that residence for the foreseeable future.
What if I don’t live in the United States?
A sponsor who is not currently living in the United States may meet the domicile requirement if he or she can submit evidence to establish that any of the following conditions apply:
- The sponsor is employed by certain organizations as defined 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
Can a sponsor maintain a US domicile while living abroad?
US citizens and lawful permanent residents that reside outside the United States on a temporary basis may still qualify as a sponsor for an immigrant visa. (“Temporary” may cover an extended period of residence abroad.) The sponsor living abroad must establish ALL of the following in order to be considered domiciled in the United States:
- He or she departed the United States for a limited and not indefinite period of time
- He or she intended to maintain a domicile in the United States
- He or she has evidence of continued ties to the United States
What can be used as proof that a trip is temporary?
Examples of proof that a sponsor’s trip abroad is temporary and that he or she has maintained a domicile in the United States may include:
- A voting record in the United States
- Records of paying US 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
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Don’t know where to start? The immigration lawyers at Richards and Jurusik Immigration Law have more than 20 years of experience helping foreign nationals (especially Canadians) live and work in the United States. Contact us today for a free assessment of your legal situation.