United States Citizen and Lawful Permanent Residents have the ability to apply with the US government to allow certain family members to enter the US and live here. The relationship to your family member will dictate the process which will be used to bring or family member to the US or help your family member obtain a green card if currently living in the US. We have listed many of the processes which can be used to help your family member. You can click on any of the subjects listed below to learn more.
K1/K3/K4: Fiancée Visa and Married Spouses Abroad
If you are desire to apply for your fiancée to enter the US for marriage or your spouse is currently living internationally and you are a US Citizen, you may be eligible to apply for a K-1 visa for your partner. The fiancé visa is an immigrant visa which will allow an individual to enter the US for the purpose of marrying a US Citizen. This category of visa is also eligible to spouses of US Citizens with a pending immigrant visa application. The foreign national spouse would apply to enter the US to complete the immigration process while the petition is pending.
K1: Fiancé Visa
The K-1 is specifically for fiancés of US Citizens. If you have a fiancé living internationally, you can apply with USCIS (Department of Homeland Security) for permission for your fiancé to enter the US for the purpose of marriage. Your petition will be filed initially in the US for approval. Once it is approved, USCIS will forward the petition to the US consulate (The Department of State) which has jurisdiction for determining whether to grant a fiancée visa. The Department of State is charged with conducting an interview to ensure your relationship with your fiancé is bona fide and meets certain legal requirement. Additionally the Consulate must ensure that your fiancé is admissible to enter the United States. If approved, your fiancé will be granted a visa to enter the US for the purpose of marriage. A K-1 fiancé visa holder must marry within 90 days of entering the US. After the marriage, your new spouse will be required to apply with USCIS to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident. This is often called receiving a green card. This is a separate process with the government.
K3: Spouse Visa
The K-3 is specifically for spouses of US citizens whose petition for an immigrant visa or I-130 has not been approved. The petition process would allow a file to be forwarded to the US consulate in the spouse’s home country. The consulate would make a decision on the K-3 visa only, not on the I-130. This visa allows your spouse to enter the United States while the immigrant petition is pending. If you spouse enters in K-3 status, they would be required to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident once the I-130 is approved.
K-4 Visas are for dependent children of your fiancée or spouse. These applications would be done in conjunction with the prior categories.
The Cauley Law Firm is very experienced with guiding individuals through these processes and can assist with the process of adjusting status for your fiancé or spouse once in the United States. As your immigration attorneys we will strive to ensure that you understand the entire process, that you understand the general processing times and guide you to provide the evidence required by the government.
Immediate Relatives of US Citizens in the United States
- Spouses in the United States: Green Card/Adjustment of Status
- Spouses of US Citizens
- Unmarried Children of US Citizens Under the Age of 21
- Parents of US Citizens Who are Over the Age of 21
If you are a US citizen and you are married to a person who has entered the United States lawfully (meaning that have an I-94), you may be able to apply for your spouse to obtain a green card by adjusting their status. If your spouse entered the country without inspection they will typically not qualify for this process. However there are a few exceptions to this and if you are in this situation, you can contact our office to schedule a consultation.
The process involved with assisting your spouse to obtain a green card requires several forms to be filed with USCIS. You would need to file an immigrant visa petition for your spouse and your spouse will need to file an application for adjustment of status. These forms are typically filed concurrently which helps to reduce some of the time that your spouse will have to wait to complete this process. The adjustment filing packet would also include other forms such as an application for an employment authorization card and others. In addition to the forms, the government requires support documentation for the application.
Once everything is filed, your spouse will receive an employment authorization card within 90 days. Once everything is filed, there are several events that will take place. Your spouse will be required to have his/hers fingerprints done, they will receive an employment card within 90 days and they will be scheduled to appear for an interview with USCIS to prove the marriage is valid. When you retain the Cauley Law Firm, we are with you until the very last process is completed. We will assist you with preparing all forms, preparing all evidence that will be filed with the government, responding to any requests from the government for more evidence, preparing you for the interview and attending the interview with you. If the government requires more documents at the interview, we will also take care of that request as well. This will allow you to go through the process from beginning to end without having to be concerned that you are missing something.
Preference Category Relatives Inside the United States
- Sons and Daughters Over the Age of 21 of US Citizens
- Children and Spouses of Lawful Permanent Residents
- Brothers and Sisters of Adult US Citizens
If you have a relative that falls into one of the above categories, they are part of what immigration calls preference groups. A preference group is determined by the relationship between the US citizen or lawful permanent resident and their relative. To determine which preference group applies, you can go to the Department of State Visa Bulletin Page. The visa bulletin will explain what category your relative will be placed in and how long the wait will be to obtain a visa.
If you have an approved immigrant visa petition for your relative, the priority date on the approval notice has been reached on the visa bulletin and your relative is inside of the United States and currently in status, your relative may be able to apply for a green card without leaving the United States. This process would be similar to the immediate relative process.
In the event that your relative is inside of the United States and has gone out of status or has no status, they will most likely have to complete part of the process outside of the United States. Additionally, if your relative is currently outside of the United States, they would also follow the process below.
For relatives who are out of status or outside of the United States, you would first need to file an immigrant visa petition for your relative with the Department of Homeland Security. The Department of Homeland Security will require substantial evidence demonstrating your relationship with your family member.
Once the application has been approved, the application will be forwarded to the Department of State. The Department of State will hold the application until the priority date has been reached. Once it has been reached, the Department of State will start its process and require additional documents which would assist your relative in obtaining a visa out of the country.
Once this step has been completed, your family member and/or you will be required to attend an interview at the US Consulate in their native country (if applicable). The Department of State will conduct an interview to determine the relationship is a valid relationship and to also determine that your family member is allowed to enter the United States (is admissible)*. If your relative is currently in the United States and is going through this process, you need to speak with an immigration attorney before they leave the United States. If a person is found inadmissible, the only way they will be able to enter the country is with a waiver or waiting for any time bar to pass (some grounds of inadmissibility are not permanent, but are bars for a certain amount of years). If the application is approved and your relative is found admissible, they will be given a visa to enter the United States. They will come in as lawful permanent residents and there will be a final step with Homeland Security to ensure the green card by your relative.
This process can be very time consuming and very confusing as you are dealing with several department within the US government. If you would like to discuss a strategy for assisting your relative to become a permanent resident and to have clarity of the time that would be required, you may contact our office for a consultation with one of our attorney.
The information included on this page is general information as it relates to immigration services provided by the Cauley Forsythe Law Group, PLLC and does not constitute legal advice nor does it establish an attorney/client relationship. If you believe this information may assist you with your need for entry into the United States and would like legal guidance, you can contact Cauley Forsythe to learn specific information relating to this visa and how it may apply to your case.