Fiancé Visa (K-1)
With the K-1 visa, a foreign fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen may travel to the U.S. with the intention to marry within 90 days after the arrival date. After the allotted time, the foreign national applies for an Adjustment of Status as a legal permanent resident and his or her eligible, unmarried children may receive K-2 visas. The foreign national must be inspected and approved as an LPR by both Immigration Services and the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship before being admitted a K-1 visa. In this, both the U.S. citizen and the foreign national fiancé(e) must be free to marry legally at the time of the petition while remaining free to marry at the time of marriage, and the union must correspond with U.S. marriage law. The U.S. citizen and his or her fiancé(e) are required to have met face-to-face within the last two years prior to the petition, with the exceptions that a) they encountered extreme hardship concerning a meeting, or b) either the U.S. citizen or the foreign fiancé(e)’s culture prohibited a meeting before the legal union.
Extensive documentation is needed to apply for the K-1 visa, along with potential proof that the relationship is indeed legitimate. An experienced immigration lawyer can help ensure the future of your marriage and residence in the U.S.
The V visa is a nonimmigrant category of the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act (LIFE), which was made to reunite family members of lawful permanent residents who had been or could be separated due to long waiting periods of different visas’ application processes. The V visa allows the family members to reside in the U.S. before the immigration process is fully completed.
A child or a spouse of a lawful permanent resident who would like to apply for the V visa must meet the following requirements:
- Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, must be filed by the U.S. lawful permanent resident on or before December 21, 2000;
- The petition’s priority date must not be current, and it must be at least three years old;
- The applying individual cannot have already had or scheduled an interview;
- The petition cannot have already been submitted or undergoing processing with the U.S. embassy or foreign consulate;
- The applying individual must qualify in all other regards for immigration.
It is likely that the issuing of V visas has come to a halt, as most of the applying individuals have already become applicants with priority dates on or before the designated date. In addition, no new applicants will meet the criteria listed above.
The reason for the K-3 visa is to shorten the amount of time in which a U.S. citizen and a foreign spouse must be physically separated due to an immigrant visa petition, which can take a substantial amount of time to process. This visa is obtained by the foreign spouse overseas before he or she is admitted into the U.S. When the petition is approved, he or she may apply to adjust status as a lawful permanent resident under the approval of Immigration Services and the Department of Homeland Security. The country in which the petition is filed for the applying individual must be the same country in which the marriage took place.
Before applying for the K-3 visa, it is important to understand what qualifies as a “spouse” under immigration law:
- Common-law marriages may apply in some cases in accordance to the laws of the country where it was established;
- Only the first spouse in a polygamous marriage may qualify for immigration purposes;
- Same-sex marriage is not currently recognized for immigration;
- Living in the same household does not enable a spouse under the K-3 visa.
Violence Against Women Act
Created to help battered women in abusive situations, the Violence Against Women Act allows spouses and children of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents to obtain green cards by means of self-petition. In this case, the abuser is not required to aid in the process. To qualify for this act, an immigrant must have been subject to violence and/or cruelty to a certain extent by a U.S. citizen (or lawful permanent resident) within a marriage, or be the parent of a child who suffered from the same type of treatment. To be eligible for the Violence Against Women Act, the battered immigrant must actually be married to the citizen or resident prior to filing, but a petition may be enacted if an abuse-related divorce resulted within the two years before filing. The law also specifies that the abuse had to have occurred in the U.S., unless the abusive citizen or resident is an employee for the U.S. government or part of the U.S. armed forces. A few things that will be considered about the battered individual include strong moral fiber and an entry into the marriage on good faith, rather than for the purpose of obtaining residency or citizenship. In addition, a child can also self-petition for the Violence Against Women Act, and any proof of the relationship between the parent and the child benefits the pursuit.