Family-Based Immigration: Green Cards

Bringing your Fiancée to the United States

United States citizens may petition to bring a foreign national spouse or fiancee to the United States under the K visa category. Children also may accompany the foreign national to the United States under this category. Attorney Robert Charles Hill is experienced in bringing your loved one to the United States and can help you navigate through the highly specialized field of U.S. Immigration Law.

K1 Fiancée Visa

A K-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa benefiting fiancées of U.S. citizen petitioners.  It permits the foreign national fiancée of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States for a ninety (90) day period to conclude a marriage with the U.S. citizen petitioner.  The marriage must take place within the ninety (90) day period after entry.  After the marriage occurs, an application for permanent residence can be made for the foreign national.

The petitioner of the K-1 petition must be a U.S. citizen.  The parties must have met in person within the two (2) year period prior to filing the petition; however, a waiver of this requirement may be granted in certain cases.  The parties also must provide proof that they have a bona fide intention to marry within ninety (90) days of the fiancée’s entry into the United States and that there are no legal impediments to marriage.

Unmarried children of the K-1 beneficiary may accompany the K-1 beneficiary to the United States on a K-2 visa.  Children in K-2 visa status may attend school and, after the marriage of the K-1 parent to the U.S. citizen petitioner, may apply for employment authorization.


 “Immediate Relatives” and Other Family Members

United States citizens and lawful permanent residents can sponsor certain relatives for permanent residence in the United States.  The relatives that have been designated as eligible for family-sponsored permanent residence are grouped into different classifications.

 “Immediate Relatives” of U.S. citizens are the spouses, parents, and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of U.S. citizens.

The petitioning U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who is married and wants to apply for an immigrant visa for his/her spouse must meet certain requirements and legal obligations.  The petitioning spouse must demonstrate that he/she and the immigrating spouse (the beneficiary) have a bona fide marriage.  In general, a marriage that was valid where performed is considered legal unless it violates public policy.  Additionally, the petitioner must establish that the marriage was not entered into for the purpose of evading immigration laws.  Therefore, it is possible that a marriage may not be recognized for immigration purposes despite being a legal marriage.

Marriage-based immigration has been subject to controversy due to the fact that the bona fides of a marriage relationship often cannot be objectively measured.  A legal marriage is considered to be valid for immigration purposes if, at its inception, the couple intended to establish a life together and assume certain duties and obligations.  If it is found that the sole intention to enter into a marriage was to secure the immigrating spouse’s residency in the United States, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will consider the marriage to be fraudulent, or a “sham,” and not valid for immigration purposes.

Family-sponsored immigrant visas for relatives other than immediate relatives are subject to numerical limitations and are categorized as follows:

  • First (F1): for unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
  • Second (F2A and F2B): for spouses and children of permanent residents (F2A) and unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age and older) of permanent residents (F2B).
  • Third (F3): for married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
  • Fourth (F4): for brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens who are 21 years of age or older.

An annual quota applies to the number of family-sponsored immigrants that can be admitted annually to the United States.  Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are not subject to the numerical restrictions on visas that are applicable to relatives in the other family-based visa categories.  In addition, limitations exist within each family-based category on the number of visas that are available to relatives from each foreign state.  Consequently, lengthy visa backlogs exist for some of the preference categories.

The Law Firm of Washington Immigration Attorney Robert Charles Hill – Hill Visa Law – is experienced in working with its clients to provide such counsel and will be happy to assist you. To arrange a telephone consultation, call us at (202) 721-7205 or use the consultation form to describe your circumstances.

Caveat: The information above is intended to be only a general description of various visa categories under United States immigration laws and must not be construed as legal advice applicable in any specific matter. Facts and circumstances will vary from case to case and adequate counsel can be provided only upon deliberate consideration of the needs and circumstances of an individual client.

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