Foreign born individuals who wish to apply
for permanent residence in the United States
so based on a qualifying relationship to a
U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident
member. The process entails that the
qualifying family, who must either, be the
child, or sibling of the foreign national,
must file an immigrant relative visa
petition with the
United States Citizenship and Immigration
Services. Once the immigrant visa petition
approved, the foreign born individual must
then apply to adjust their status, is
presently in the
United States, or consular process, if
outside the United States.
Our attorneys have significant experience in
successfully representing family-based
in or outside the United States, whether
their case is straightforward or complex. We
fifteen years combined practical experience
handling cases that are complicated by past
immigration violations, criminal concerns or
other potential impediments to admission to
U.S. as a permanent resident.
Family Based Immigrant Visa
The K-1 visa is available to fiancés and
fiancées of U.S. citizens. Applicants first
must have an I-129F petition approved by U.S. Citizenship &
Immigration Services (CIS), and then apply
single-entry K-1 visa stamp at the
appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate
• The K-1 visa holder must marry the petitioning U.S. citizen fiancé(e)
within 90 days of
entry into the U.S.
in K-1 status, and
should then file for adjustment of status to
permanent residence (via Form I-
that same timeframe to avoid becoming
undocumented when the K-1 status expires.
• K-1 visa holders can apply for an Employment Authorization Document
would allow them
to work based on the K-1
visa prior to applying for permanent
residence (but in practice the EAD is rarely
received prior to its expiration at the end
the K-1 validity period).
• Applications for an EAD and Advance Parole (travel authorization)
can also be
concurrently-filed with an
after admission in K-1 status.
• Children of a K-1 applicant may enter the
U.S. with a K-2 visa as long as the child is
under 21 years
of age. The K-2 visa holder should also apply for adjustment of status
to permanent residence after
the marriage of the
K-1 parent, but will only be eligible to
apply for permanent residence through that
marriage while under the age of 21.
The K-3 visa is available to spouses of U.S.
citizens who wish to enter the United States
to complete the permanent residence process.
The U.S. citizen must first file an I-130
visa petition on behalf of his or her
spouse. Thereafter, the foreign national
spouse must obtain
an approved I-129F from U.S. Citizenship &
Immigration Services (CIS) in order to apply
the K-3 visa through the U.S. Embassy or
Consulate in the country in which the
place (if the marriage took place outside
• The K-3 typically allows an individual to make multiple-entries
into the U.S. and is
initially valid for two
years, during which time the visa holder must either apply for
permanent residence or apply to extend
the K-3 visa.
• A K-3 nonimmigrant is eligible to apply for an Employment
provides general employment
authorization to work with any U.S.
employer for the validity period of the
• Children of a K-3 applicant may enter the
U.S. with a K-4 visa as long as the child is
under 21 years of
age and was under the age of 18 at the time the K-3 parent and the U.S.
citizen were married. The K-4
child should also apply for adjustment of status to permanent
residence after the marriage of the K-3
parent, but will only be eligible for permanent residence through
that marriage while under the age of 21.
Conditional Residency (CR-1)
The CR-1 visa is available to qualified
spouses of U.S. citizens who wish to apply
for adjust of
status within the United States. The U.S.
citizen spouse must first file an I-130
petition on behalf of his or her spouse with
U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services
Thereafter, the foreign national spouse must
file of adjustment of status with CIS. At
the time of
adjust, if the marriage is less than 2 years
old, the foreign national is granted
residency status, with the requirement that
the foreign national and his or her United
citizen spouse must file within 90 days of
the two year anniversary of the cards
remove the conditions. Children under age 21
of a CR-1 applicant may enter the U.S. with
adjust in the United as a CR-2.
Family Based Preference for
• Includes spouses of U.S. citizens, minor
unmarried children (under 21 years old,
adopted children and orphans) of U.S. citizens, and parents of U.S.
citizens who are over 21 years old.
Also includes spouses and children of U.S. citizens who are victims of
domestic violence, and spouses of
deceased U.S. citizens who were married for at least two years at the
time of the spouse's death and were
not legally separated, provided that the foreign national spouse has not
remarried and files an immediate
relative petition within two years of the death of the U.S. citizen
• Unlimited number of visas (i.e. no waiting list).
• No derivative beneficiaries of an immediate relative (see below).
A separate petition must be filed for each
• Unmarried sons or daughters (over 21 years old) of U.S. citizens.
• Family 2A - Spouses and children of lawful permanent residents,
including those who are victims of
• Family 2B - Unmarried sons or daughters (over 21 years old) of
lawful permanent residents.
• Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
• Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens 21 years of age or over.
• Spouses and children of the principal alien under each preference
category are entitled to
the same status
and order of consideration
if accompanying or following to join the
principal alien. This does not apply to
Please note that there are an unlimited
number of visa numbers available to
applications, which is not true for family
members who wish to benefit from a
category. To determine whether there is a
delay (a.k.a. retrogression) in the
availability of an
immigrant visa in a particular family-based
preference category, refer to the U.S. State
Department's monthly Visa Bulletin, which
provides information about the availability
immigrant visas in each family-based and
employment-based preference category.