Family Based Immigration

A United States citizen or Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) may be able to sponsor their family members for visas. The two types of visas are Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas and Family Preference Immigrant Visas. Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas may be issued to the following types of family members of a U.S. citizen:

  • Spouse;
  • Unmarried child under the age of 21;
  • Foreign orphan legally adopted in a foreign country;
  • Foreign orphan who will be legally adopted in the U.S.; and
  • Parent of a citizen who is at least 21 years of age
Family Preference Immigrant Visas may be issued to the relatives who qualify under the following family preference categories:
  • Family First Preference: Unmarried children and minor grandchildren of U.S. citizens
  • Family Second Preference: Spouses, minors and unmarried children over the age of 21 of LPRs
  • Family Third Preference: Married children of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children
  • Family Fourth Preference: Siblings of U.S. citizens over the age of 21, and their spouses and minors

The fianc(e) K-1 nonimmigrant visa allows the foreign national fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen to travel to the U.S. in order to marry their U.S. sponsor within 90 days of their arrival. As a fiancé(e) visa enables the holder to immigrate to the U.S., they must meet some of the eligibility requirements of an immigrant visa.

After they have married their sponsor, they will need to apply for an adjustment of status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in order to become a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR). A fiancé(e) visa automatically expires after 90 days, and if the two have not married by that time, they're in violation of immigration law and could face removal from the US.

USCIS is very thorough in their examination of fiancé(e) K-1 nonimmigrant visa applications, to ensure that those applying are seeking real and lasting marriage, and not merely looking for a way to con the immigration system. Applicants will be required to provide sufficient evidence of their commitment to true union, and may have to undergo a thorough interview process.