Whenever a petitioner is filing for a beneficiary especially in family based petitions, INA Section 213A requires that the petitioner who is sponsoring for a legal permanent residence or green card to be domiciled in the United States.

By simple definition domicile is the place where the sponsor petitioner resides and intent to reside in the foreseeable future.

If a sponsor petitioner is residing abroad usually in the past two years, the State Department or the Department of Homeland Security might require the sponsor to prove that the sponsor’s principal residence is the United States.  They might require that the sponsor has a place of residence such as an apartment or a house.  Fortunately there is no minimum time to establish this domicile.

Tips on how to prove the domicile

These are few things that someone might want to do to establish residence and domicile to immigration purposes.

  1. Have the sponsor move back to the United States;
  2. Have a bank account and maintaining bank balances in the United States;
  3. Transferring funds to the United States;
  4. Making investments or buy a business in the United States;
  5. Trying to find a job in the United States;
  6. Apply for a social security number if there is none;
  7. Register and vote in the United States (applies only to US citizen sponsors);
  8. Having sponsor’s children enrolled in a school;
  9. Making sure taxes are paid as residents;
  10. Showing relinquishment or taking steps to give up on a foreign citizenship residency; and
  11. Showing other ties to the United States which are deemed appropriate.

Note that the USCIS and State Department have both taken the position that the burden of proving the domicile is on the sponsor.  The adjudicating officer after looking at all the factors, will make a determination if domicile has been proven.

This article just offers quick tips on how you can prove domicile in order to sponsor for someone.  In no way it is fully comprehensive. As such we recommend you talk to a good immigration lawyer to help.

Shah Peerally of the Shah Peerally Law Group PC has been practicing immigration and nationality laws for more than 10 years and Shah Peerally has been rated among the top lawyers of California.  Call (510) 742 5887 or visit www.peerallylaw.com for any questions.