Permanent Visas: Family-based and Visa Lottery

If you are a foreign national with family members in the United States or are marrying a U.S. Citizen and in turn seek to obtain lawful permanent residence (green card) through your family or spouse, we can assist you through this complex process to minimize delays in obtaining your visa and unite you with your family members. Whether an immigrant visa (green card) or nonimmigrant (temporary) visa we are prepared to assist you with any petition in the spectrum of family-based visas.

IMMIGRANT VISAS

  • IR Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens Spouses, Unmarried Children and Parents
  • F-1 Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens
  • F-2A Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents
  • F-2B Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents
  • F-3 Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens
  • F-4 Brothers and Sisters of U.S. Citizens

NONIMMIGRANT VISAS

  • K-1 Fiances/Fiancees of U.S. Citizens
  • K-3 Spouses of U.S. Citizens
  • V-1 Spouses of Permanent Residents
  • V-2 Children of Permanent Residents

IMMIGRANT VISAS

(IR) – Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens Spouses, Unmarried Children and Parents
Family members of certain U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) may be eligible for their own lawful permanent resident (green card) status.

There are three general categories for family members:

  1. Immediate Relatives
  2. Preference Relatives
  3. Accompanying Relatives

Immediate Relatives
Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are not subject to visa limitations such as annual limit or quota. These foreign nationals qualify as Immediate Relatives:

a. Spouses of U.S. citizens including widows and widowers of U.S. citizens if married to the citizen relative for at least two years and are applying for a green card within two years of the citizen’s death.
b. Unmarried people under the age of 21 who have at least one U.S. citizen parent.
c. Parents of U.S. citizens, if the U.S. citizen child is age 21 or older.
d. Stepparents and stepchildren qualify as immediate relatives if the marriage creating the parent/child relationship took place before the child’s 18th birthday.
e. Parents and children related through adoption may, in some cases, qualify as immediate relatives.

Preference Relatives
Other certain family members of U.S. citizens and green card holders are also eligible for permanent residence status. These preferential family member applicants are subject to a limited number of green cards, based on the following preference categories:

(F-1) – Family First Preference. Unmarried people, any age, who have at least one U.S. citizen parent.
(F-2A) – Family Second Preference. 2A. Spouses of green card holders and unmarried children under age 21. 2B. Unmarried sons and daughters (who are over age 21) of green card holders.
(F-3B) – Family Third Preference. Married people, of any age, who have at least one U.S. citizen parent.
(F-4) – Family Fourth Preference. Sisters and brothers of U.S. citizens where the citizen is over 21 years old.

Be aware that the waiting period for a Family Preference Relative category may take several years to obtain a green card.

Accompanying Relatives
If you will be issued a green card as a Preference Relative, you are married or have unmarried children below the age of 21 then your spouse and children are permitted to obtain green cards under your petition as accompanying relatives.

NONIMMIGRANT VISAS

  • K-1 Fiances/Fiancees of U.S. Citizens
  • K-3 Spouses of U.S. Citizens
  • V-1 Spouses of Permanent Residents
  • V-2 Children of Permanent Residents

(K-1) – FIANCES/FIANCEES OF U.S. CITIZENS
A U.S. citizen who has met a foreign national and are engaged to be married here in the U.S. may be permitted to enter and conclude a valid marriage within 90 days after entry upon petition by the U.S. Citizen. The minor children of the K-1 foreign national may be permitted under a K-2 visa. The K-1 visa may not be extended beyond the 90 day period and may not adjust to a nonimmigrant status except adjustment to a Lawful Permanent Resident based on marriage to the U.S. citizen petitioner.

(K-3)- SPOUSES OF UNITED STATES CITIZENS
A K-3 visa is available only to foreign nationals who are already married to a U.S. Citizen where the U.S. Citizen spouse has previously submitted an immediate relative petition and the foreign national spouse seeks admission while waiting for approval. The minor children of the K-3 petitioner are permitted entry under a K-4 visa.? K visas may not adjust to a nonimmigrant status except adjustment to a Lawful Permanent Resident based on marriage to the U.S. citizen petitioner.

(V-1) – SPOUSES OF PERMANENT RESIDENTS

(V-2) – CHILDREN OF PERMANENT RESIDENTS
The V visa is like the K-3 visa with the exception that it is designed for someone who is married to a legal permanent resident or is a child of a LPR who has filed a family petition on their behalf prior to December 21, 2000 and the petition is pending for three or more years. The V visa is also available to those family members who have been waiting for three or more years under a family-based petition due to lack of availability from quota restrictions. Unlawful presence in the U.S. by an awaiting family member is not fatal to the V visa application but a waiver will be required when they adjust status. The V-2 visa is available to the children of the V-1 visa holder.

VISA LOTTERY

The visa lottery may provide you with an alternative means of gaining legal residence in the United States, whether you are currently inside or outside the U.S., as an alternative to being sponsored by a family member or employer.

Under the provisions of the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, 50,000 permanent resident visas each year are granted to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The annual DV program makes permanent residence visas available to persons meeting the simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. Eligible applicants are then chosen by a computer-generated random lottery drawing.

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