K-1 Visa and K-3 Visa
The K category is designed to facilitate the U.S. citizen’s prospective or actual spouse’s entry the U.S. and to start the permanent residency process. K-1 visa allows the U.S. citizen (petitioner) to bring her fiancé or his fiancée to the U.S. to conclude marriage. The marriage must occur within 90 days after admission to the U.S.
The U.S. sponsor must first file a petition with USCIS on behalf of the fiancé(e). After the petition is approved, the fiancé(e) must obtain a visa issued at a U.S. Embassy or consulate abroad. If the marriage does not take place within 90 days, the fiancé(e) will be required to leave the U.S. It is not possible to apply for an extension of the 90-day original nonimmigrant admission. After the marriage is completed the foreign spouse can initiate the process of permanent residency.
According to the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act (LIFE Act) of 2000, U.S. citizens who married a foreign national residing abroad, can apply for K-3 visa for their spouses so the foreign spouses can enter the U.S. and process their permanent residence in the U.S., instead of going through the immigrant visa proceeding in their home countries.
Immigrant petitions for certain family members
A citizen or lawful permanent resident of the U.S. may sponsor certain foreign relatives. The first step is to file a Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) to establish the relationship to his/her alien relatives who wish to immigrate to the United States. The U.S. immigration law limits the number of immigrant visa numbers that are available every year. This means that even if the USCIS approves an immigrant visa petition, a foreign relative must wait until there is a visa number available before he/she can apply for an adjustment of status to a lawful permanent resident. Only immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, which include spouses, unmarried children (under 21 years) and parents of U.S. citizens, are not subject to limitation to the number of immigrants who may qualify under this category in a given year. In other words, for relatives in this category immigrant visa numbers are immediately available so they can apply for lawful permanent residence without further delays.
Other alien relatives must wait for a visa to become available according to the following preferences:
1. First Preference – unmarried sons and daughters (21 years or older) of U.S. citizens;
2. Second Preference – spouses and unmarried children (under 21 years) and sons and daughters (21 years or older) of legal permanent residents;
3. Third Preference – married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens; and
4. Fourth Preference – brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens
Please see the Department of State’s most recent Visa Bulletin for verification of visa availability in each category at: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin.html
Contact a Virginia family-based immigration law firm today
Attorneys at Partovi Law LLC, have extensive experience with family-based petitions/applications and can assist you in bringing your loved ones into the United States. Please call us at 703-752-6148 to schedule an appointment.