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The K-1 nonimmigrant visa allows a foreign national fiancé of a U.S. citizen to enter the U.S. to marry their U.S. citizen fiancé/sponsor within 90 days of their arrival. Once married to the U.S. citizen, the K-1 holder may apply for permanent residence. To be eligible for a K-1 visa, the foreign national
- Must be engaged to a U.S. citizen.
- Must intend to marry within 90 days of entering the United States.
- Must be free to marry and any previous marriages must have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment. The same applies to the U.S. citizen fiancé.
- Must have met each his/her U.S. citizen fiancé, in person, at least once within 2 years of filing the petition. Two exceptions to this requirement are:
- If the requirement to meet would violate strict and long-established customs of the foreign national’s foreign culture or social practice.
- If it is proven that the requirement to meet would result in extreme hardship.
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- Children of K-1 holders may be eligible to receive a K-2 visa.
K-3 – Spouses
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- The K-3 visa allows a foreign national spouse of a U.S. citizen to enter the U.S. as a non-immigrant while the Petition for Alien Relative filed by the spouse on his/her behalf is pending.
- To be eligible for a K-3 visa, the foreign national must:
- Be married to a U.S. citizen
- Have a pending Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, filed by the U.S. citizen spouse on his or her behalf.
- Children of K-3 holders may be eligible to receive a K-4 visa.
U.S. citizens and permanent residents may petition for certain family members to immigrate to the U.S. as permanent residents, or if they are already in the U.S., they may adjust status to become a permanent resident. These family members include spouses, parents, and children. The following preference categories apply to family petitions:
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- First preference: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. (21 or older).
- Second Preference (2A): Spouses of green card holders, unmarried children (under 21) of permanent residents.
- Second Preference (2B): Unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents.
- Third Preference: Married sons and daughters (any age) of U.S. citizens.
- Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens.
Children are adopted from overseas on a daily basis. There are three processes through which a foreign national may immigrate on the basis of intercountry adoption. Children adopted usually have to be under the age of 16 to be eligible for immigration benefits.
Two of these processes apply only to children who are adopted by U.S. citizens:
- The Hague Process: This process applies if the child habitually resides in a country that is a party to the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention. The petition must be filed before the child’s 16th birthday.
- The Orphan Process (non-Hague): This process is used when the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention does not apply. The Orphan petition must be filed before the child’s 16th birthday or in certain cases, before the child’s 18th birthday.
The other process applies to children who are adopted by U.S. citizens or permanent residents:
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- Immediate Relative Petition: In this case, the parent must have:
- Adopted the child before his or her 16th birthday (or before the 18th birthday under certain circumstances).
- Have evidence of a full and final adoption and satisfy custody and residence requirements before the adoption may be the basis for immigration benefits.
- Had legal and physical custody of the child for at least two years while the child was a minor.
- The legal custody must have been the result of a formal grant of custody from a court or other governmental entity.
- The custody and residence requirement may be met by custody and residence that preceded the adoption.
- The two years custody and residence requirements are waived for certain abused children.