If you want to move to the United States, you can obtain a visa in several ways. This depends on your situation and why you want to go to the United States. If interested in studying at a university in the United States, you can apply for a study visa. Then, if you want to work in the United States, you can apply for a work visa. If you want to go to the United States to live with, provide for, or get provided for by a family member, you can apply for a family immigration visa. There are several different types of family visas, a few of which I’ve touched upon in the past few weeks. Here, I discuss the different kinds of family immigration visas, and how you can be eligible for each.
Family of U.S. Citizen Eligibility
If you have a family member who is currently a United States Citizen or a permanent resident of the United States, you will be eligible for a green card. However, it is important to keep in mind that this is only the case for immediate family members. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) considers the following people to be immediate relatives:
- Unmarried children and those under the age of 21.
Slightly removed relatives, such as siblings or children either married or over the age of 21, can also qualify for a green card. However, it becomes more difficult for these types of family members to get a green card.
K-3/K-4 Nonimmigrant Visas
If married to a U.S. citizen, and you want to live in the United States with your spouse and your children, you could obtain a green card. All you have to do is prove that you are married to a citizen of the United States. Then, your spouse has to file a Form I-130 on your behalf. Your children will qualify if they are under the age of 21 and unmarried. Even if your spouse is not the parent of your children, they can get a visa through your visa.
If engaged to a United States citizen, you can obtain a visa. You do not have to be married yet in order to be eligible for this type of visa. But, you must prove that you plan to marry a United States citizen upon your arrival.
Family of Permanent Resident Eligibility
If you have a relative who has a green card (which gives that family member permanent residency in the United States), you can also apply for a green card through your family member. Family members of green card holders immediately considered for a green card include spouses, children under the age of 21, and unmarried children of any age. Unfortunately, parents and siblings of permanent residents will not get preference when applying for family related green cards.
V Nonimmigrant Visa
This type of visa allows families going through the immigration process to stay together.
Family of Refugee or Asylee
If you have a spouse or parent admitted to the United States as a refugee or who has asylum in the United States in the past two years, you can join this family member.
Family of U.S. Citizens
A family member of a United State citizen has the opportunity to apply for permanent residency in the United States. This happens through a green card. In order to apply for a green card, you should have your family member file a I-130 form for you. This form validates the familial relationship between you and your relative. To prove your relationship with your relative, you will have to provide legal documents. This includes birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc. Once the I-130 gets approved, you can file an application for permanent residency. This is form I-485, and once it is approved, you will get your green card.
If you want to apply for a fiancé visa, your fiancé should file a Petition for Alien Fiancé, also known as form I-129F. Along with this form, you have to prove the following facts:
- That the person filing the petition (your fiancé) has US citizenship. They can prove this with a passport or citizenship certificate.
- Any previous marriages that you or your fiancé had are legally over (can be proven by divorce decrees or death certificates).
- You and your fiancé have met in person within the past two years.
- You and your fiancé intend to marry within 90 days of you entering the United States (fiancé status expires after 90 days and cannot get extended).
To apply for one of these visas, your relative has to file form I-130 and form I-129F on your behalf.
Family of Permanent Residents
If you have a relative who has a U.S. green card, you can apply for your own green card by having your family member:
- File an I-130 form for you.
- Provide proof that he or she is a permanent resident.
- Provide evidence of your relationship.
If you want to apply for a V visa, your family member who is currently a citizen of the U.S. should file form I-539 and form I-693 on your behalf.
Family of Refugees and Asylees
If you have a relative who is a resident of the United States due to asylum or refugee status, he or she can file an I-730 form to get you residency in the United States.
If you or your family member need help filling out one of these oftentimes tedious applications, please feel free to contact me. I know exactly how to fill out these forms and can help!