​Family-Based Green Cards

United States family immigration laws allow citizens and lawful permanent residents to sponsor certain relatives for legal permanent residence in the U.S.. Relatives that are eligible for family-sponsored permanent residence are listed in different classifications.

If you are seeking guidance with completing this process, please contact San Antonio Immigration Attorney Brigitte Garza.

Family Sponsorship – Who is eligible?

Immediate Relatives

There is no limit on the number of immigrants who can enter the U.S. on these visas each year. They are the following:

  • The spouse of a U.S. citizen;
  • The parent of an adult U.S. citizen. An adult is defined as an individual who is 21 years of age or older;
  • The unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens;
  • An orphan who was adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen; and
  • An orphan whose adoption by a U.S. citizen is pending.

Family Immigration Preference Visas

  • Family Preference Immigrant visas are limited to a certain number. The categories are as follows:
  • Family First Preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children if applicable
  • Family Second Preference (F2): Spouses, minor children, and adult unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents
  • Family Third Preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children
  • Family Fourth Preference (F4): Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children

Limitations to Family Immigration

Grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and in-laws cannot sponsor a relative for immigration.

Also, limitations exist within each preference category on the number of visas that are available to relatives from each foreign country. There is always a large backlog for Family Preference Immigrant visas and the waiting period can be several years.

The available visas will be issued in the order in which the visa petitions were filed. Thus, it is important to file your petition on behalf of a family member as soon as possible in order to “get in line.’’

Fiancé and Spouse Visa

K-1 Visa Categories

A United States citizen can petition to bring a foreign national spouse or fiancé to the U.S. under the K-visa category. The fiancé or spouse can also be accompanied by their children. Multiple visas within this category make it helpful to have the assistance of an attorney when navigating through this process.

K-1 Fiancé Visa

A K-1 Fiancé Visa is a nonimmigrant visa that is issued to the fiance of a U.S. citizen.

A K-1 visa permits this individual to enter the United States for a period of 90 days within which they must marry the U.S. citizen who sponsored their visa.

After the marriage has occurred, the K-1 visa holder can apply for permanent resident status in the United States.

Children of fiancé can receive a K-2 visa to accompany the K-1 fiancé to the U.S. and can attend school and after the marriage has taken place, also apply for employment authorization.

There are some conditions to the K-1 visa and they include the following:

The sponsor of the K-1 visa must be a U.S. citizen and both the U.S. citizen and the foreign national fiancé must have been legally free to marry at the time the petition was filed. They must remain legally free to marry after the filing as well.

The petitioner and foreign national must provide proof that they intend to marry within 90 days of the fiancé’s entry to the U.S. and the pending marriage must be legally possible.

Also, the foreign national fiancé and the U.S. citizen sponsor must have met in person within the two-year period prior to the visa application. However, the USCIS can grant a hardship exemption for this requirement under certain circumstances.

Generally, individuals apply for a fiancé visa for faster processing.  Because a fiancé visa is classified as a nonimmigrant visa, it is a shorter process than applying or a marriage visa.  You need an experienced attorney like Brigitte Garza to provide the required documents and in moving the process along as quickly as possible.

K-3 Spouse Visa

A K-3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that is issued to the foreign spouse i.e. a legally wedded husband or wife of a United States citizen. Also, same-sex spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, and their minor children are eligible for the same immigration benefits as opposite-sex spouses. Common law spouses may qualify as spouses for immigration purposes, depending on the laws of the country in which the common law marriage took place.

The purpose of the K-3 visa is to shorten the physical separation between the foreign national and the U.S. citizen spouse by giving the foreign national the option to obtain a K-3 nonimmigrant visa overseas and enter the United States to await approval of his or her immigrant visa application. The spouse of the U.S. citizen must also have filed an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative in order for the foreign national to receive a K-3.

Unmarried children of the K-3 visa beneficiary may accompany the K-3 holder to the United States on a K-4 visa. Similar to the K-3 visa, the K-4 allows its beneficiary to remain in the United States while their immigrant visa petition is being considered by USCIS Citizenship and Immigration Services.

For a free initial consultation about your legal options for resolving any Family Immigration issues, contact Immigration Attorney, Brigitte Garza at 210-227-5700.