Boston Family Immigration Attorneys Helping Clients With K-1 And K-2 Visas
Many relatives of U.S. citizens and/or lawful permanent residents have certain family members and future spouses that they want to sponsor to bring to the United States. Depending on the legal status of the sponsor and the relationship between the sponsor and beneficiary, this will determine many factors including how long the beneficiary will have to wait for an immigrant visa and if they are able to adjust status within the United States or back in their home country.
At Toland Law, LLC, we have been helping our clients legally bring those who mean most to them to the United States for years. In the past, we have been asked many questions about family immigration.
For information on recent changes to immigration law due to COVID-19, read our blog post here.
Here are some of the most common questions we have received:
- Can I bring my immediate family to the U.S.?
- How can I bring my child or sibling to the U.S.?
- How to gain residency through marriage?
- How to bring your fiancé to America with a K-1 visa?
- What happens after your K-1 visa petition is approved?
- What happens after my fiancé arrives in the U.S?
- After my fiancé and I get married, what happens next?
Can I Bring My Immediate Family To The U.S.?
Immigrant visas are readily available with no waiting time for “immediate relatives” of U.S. citizens. So, who is considered an immediate relative? An immediate relative of a U.S. citizen is a spouse or parent that is at least 21 years old, or a child that is under 21 years old.
If the immediate relative entered the U.S. lawfully or was paroled upon proper inspection, the immediate relative will be able to adjust their status within the country. If the immediate relative is outside the U.S. or entered unlawfully, they will have to go through consular processing in their home country.
It is important to note that if the immediate relative entered the country unlawfully and has accrued unlawful presence that could subject them to a 3 or 10-year time bar from coming back into the U.S., the immediate relative will need a waiver approved before coming back. For more on immigration laws surrounding family members, read our blog post here.
How Can I Bring My Child Or Sibling To The U.S.?
U.S. citizens can also sponsor their unmarried children that are under 21, married children that are any age, and siblings. Additionally, lawful permanent residents can sponsor their spouse, children under 21, and unmarried sons or daughters are over 21.
The immigrant visas for these relatives will not be readily available. in fact, after applying to put the beneficiary in line, these types of relatives will usually have to wait a certain number of years before a visa is available.
If a visa is listed as “current,” that means the visa is available and the person may start consular processing. Almost always, the beneficiary will have to go through the consular process at the U.S. Embassy in their home country. In rare instances that a relative maintains a lawful presence during their stay within the U.S., then the relative may adjust status within the U.S.
How To Gain Residency Through Marriage?
For U.S. citizens that have married a foreign national within the U.S., it may be possible that the beneficiary spouse can adjust their status within the country. Typically, this boils down to whether the spouse entered the U.S. lawfully or unlawfully.
If the spouse entered lawfully, the spouse may file for adjustment of status within the United States assuming there are no other issues of inadmissibility. After filing the appropriate petitions and evidence of the bonafide marriage, an interview will be scheduled at the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) center in the applicant’s jurisdiction.
A USCIS officer will conduct a thorough interview and comb through all of the evidence to make sure the marriage is valid. If the USCIS officer is satisfied after the interview, the officer will approve of the petition and adjust the status of the foreign national to a lawful permanent resident. The newly admitted lawful permanent resident spouse will receive their permanent resident card (green card) in the mail.
If a USCIS officer finds that the marriage was entered into fraudulently, the petition will be denied and the foreign national will suffer a permanent bar from the country. Additionally, the USCIS officer will likely issue a notice to appear to the foreign national to appear at the immigration court for removal proceedings.
For U.S. citizens that married a foreign national who is outside the U.S. or entered the country unlawfully, the spouse has to go through consular processing at a U.S. embassy in their home country. The prospective immigrant spouse will have to go through a medical exam, provide a police certificate, among other required documentation to the consular officer.
After all of the paperwork is submitted, the consular officer will schedule an interview with the spouse that the U.S citizen is not required to attend. Then, the consular officer will conduct a thorough interview and if satisfied, the consular officer will issue an immigrant visa to the spouse, and the spouse will now be able to enter the United States as a lawful permanent resident.
How To Bring Your Fiancé To America With A K-1 Visa?
As a United States Citizen petitioner, you can sponsor your fiancé and file a petition with the USCIS to request a K-1 visa. It should be noted that you must be a U.S. Citizen and not just a lawful permanent resident.
After filing the petition and providing the required evidence, the USCIS will take about six (6) to nine (9) months to decide on the petition. The petition requires a significant amount of evidence that needs to be submitted to prove the bona fides of the relationship and intent to marry one another within ninety (90) days of entry to the United States.
It is important to submit solid evidence from the very beginning so that you have a higher chance of being approved faster. This is because the USCIS may delay the process and request more evidence if enough evidence is not submitted.
What Happens After Your K-1 Visa Petition Is Approved?
After the petition is approved, it will be sent to the Department of State to start consular processing. After all of the required documentation is sent to the Department of State, this agency will send the application to the U.S. embassy that is in your fiancé’s jurisdiction.
Once the U.S. embassy has the application and required documentation, they will schedule an interview with your fiancé that the U.S. citizen petitioner is not required to attend. Your fiancé will have to provide certain documentation to the U.S. Embassy including a medical examination that was done by a U.S.-approved doctor, a police clearance certificate, and whatever other documents the U.S. Consulate requires.
If all goes well at the interview, the consular officer will approve the K-1 visa application and issue your fiancé the visa which will be attached to their passport.
What Happens After My Fiancé Arrives In The U.S?
After the K-1 visa is approved, your fiancé will have four (4) months from the time their application was approved at the U.S. Embassy to enter the United States. Once your fiancé is in the country, you and your fiancé have to marry each other within ninety (90) days.
If you and your fiancé do not marry each other, your fiancé has to leave the country within those ninety (90) days or she will be subjected to deportation. You and your fiancé must be 100% sure that you both want to get married within the ninety (90) days or the whole process becomes an absolute waste of time and effort.
After My Fiancé And I Get Married, What Happens Next?
After you and your fiancé marry each other, your new spouse will have to file for adjustment of status with the USCIS to become a lawful permanent resident. While the application is pending, your spouse can concurrently apply for work authorization.
The process from filing to approval may take as long as six (6) to nine (9) months, but your spouse will be able to work while the I-485 is pending once he/she is approved for work authorization. Additionally, your spouse may apply for advance parole to travel back to their home country if the reason for their travel qualifies under USCIS strict provisions.
Otherwise, your spouse will need to stay in the United States during the pendency of the application. If your spouse leaves the United States while the application is pending and without approved advanced parole, USCIS will assume that your spouse has abandoned their application and it will be terminated.
Once your spouse becomes a lawful permanent resident, he/she will no longer need their work authorization card and may discard it. They will receive their lawful permanent resident card which is commonly referred to as a “green card.”
Your spouse will be able to work and travel in and out of the country with their permanent resident card. Your spouse will be considered a conditional resident because your spouse and you have only been married for less than two years.
Eventually, your spouse will need to remove the conditions on their residency within 90 days of the expiration of their green card. If your spouse does not remove the conditions of their permanent residency, their status as a permanent resident is terminated and will be at risk of deportation.
Once the conditions are removed, your spouse is no longer a “conditional” resident and can enjoy the benefits of lawful permanent residency for the rest of their life or apply for U.S. citizenship once they are eligible.
Contact One Of Top Family Immigration Law Firms In Boston, MA
If you are considering bringing your family or fiancé to the United States, you need an experienced lawyer on your side who can guide you through the complicated immigration system. At Toland Law, LLC we have the skills needed to get your family or fiancé to the country in a timely manner.Our accomplished attorneys know that this process can be complex, and we offer professional and comprehensive representation for all of our clients.
To schedule a consultation with Toland Law, LLC and learn more about your legal options, contact our office by phone at (781) 819-3647 or fill out the contact form on our website.