Family-Based Immigrant Visas

At Veda T Maniquis – Attorney at Law, we understand the importance of keeping families together and reuniting loved ones in the United States. We are dedicated to assisting families in both immigrant and nonimmigrant visa processes, ensuring a smooth and successful journey towards family reunification.

United States citizens and lawful permanent residents can sponsor certain relatives for permanent residence in the United States.  The relatives that have been designated as eligible for family-sponsored permanent residence are grouped into different classifications.

  • “Immediate relatives” of U.S. citizens are the spouses, parents, and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of U.S. citizens.  Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are not subject to the numerical restrictions on visas that are applicable to relatives in the other family-based visa categories.

  • Family-sponsored immigrant visas for relatives other than immediate relatives are subject to numerical limitations and are categorized as follows:

  • First (F1): for unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
  • Second (F2A and F2B): for spouses and children of permanent residents (F2A) and unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age and older) of permanent residents (F2B).
  • Third (F3): for married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
  • Fourth (F4): for brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens who are 21 years of age or older.

A cap applies to the number of family-sponsored immigrants that can be admitted annually to the United States.  In addition, limitations exist within each family-based category on the number of visas that are available to relatives from each foreign state.  Consequently, visa backlogs exist for some of the preference categories.
Previously, surviving spouses of a deceased U.S. citizen had no relief available if the spouse and the U.S. citizen were married for less than two years at the time of death. Since 2009, it is possible for the surviving spouse to obtain a Green Card through a self-petition. The petition is time-sensitive because it must be filed within two years of the U.S. citizen’s death. To be able to immigrate as the widow(er) of a deceased U.S. citizen, the spouse must prove that he or she was legally married to the citizen, that the marriage was entered in good faith, and not solely to obtain an immigration benefit.

Widow(er) With Pending or Approved Immigrant Petition
If the U.S. citizen had filed a form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) for his spouse before he or she died, the application will be automatically converted to a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. Any unmarried children under age 21 may be included on the Form I-360 regardless of whether the deceased spouse had filed a petition for them.

Widow(er) Without a Pending or Approved Immigrant Petition
If no I-130 petition was filed before the U.S. citizen’s death, the surviving spouse can file a petition as an “immediate relative” on Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. The Form I-360 must be filed within 2 years after the death of the U.S. citizen spouse. Eligibility: A person may be eligible to receive Legal Permanent Residency status through widow/widower status if he or she:

  • Was married to a U.S. citizen at the time the citizen spouse passed away
  • Either has a pending or approved Form I-130 or has filed a Form I-360 within 2 years of the U.S. citizen Spouse’s death (or no later than Oct. 28, 2011, if the U.S. citizen died before Oct. 28, 2009, and both were married less than 2 years).
  • Has not remarried
  • Was not divorced or legally separated from the spouse at the time he or she died
  • Is able to prove that both were in a bona fide marital relationship until the  time of the spouse’s death
  • Is admissible to the United States

Children of Widow(er) of a U.S. Citizen
Unmarried children under the age of 21 may be included on the immigration petition. As “immediate relatives,” the children are granted benefits of the Child Status Protection Act, which “freezes” their ages as of the date of filing of Form I-130 or I-360. This prevents them from aging-out if they turn 21 prior to processing their adjustment-of-status or visa application. They must, however, continue to meet any other additional filing requirements.

K-1 Visa for the Fiancée of a U.S. Citizen

A K-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa benefiting fiancées of U.S. citizen petitioners.  It permits the foreign national fiancée of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States for a ninety (90) day period to conclude a marriage with the U.S. citizen petitioner.  The marriage must take place within the ninety (90) day period after entry.  After the marriage occurs, an application for permanent residence can be made for the foreign national.

Unmarried children of the K-1 beneficiary may accompany the K-1 beneficiary to the United States on a K-2 visa.  Children in K-2 visa status may attend school and, after the marriage of the K-1 parent to the U.S. citizen petitioner, may apply for employment authorization.

K-3 Visa for Spouses of U.S. Citizens

K-3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa benefiting foreign-citizen spouses of U.S. citizens.  The K-3 visa permits the spouse of a U.S. citizen who has filed an I-130 Petition to enter the United States to await approval of the petition.  Proof of the filing of the I-130 Petition must be included with the K-3 visa petition.  Unmarried children of the K-3 beneficiary may accompany the K-3 beneficiary to the United States on a K-4 visa.

CPR status is given to those people who received permanent residence in the U.S based upon marriage to a U.S citizen or permanent resident spouse for less than 2 years at the time you were granted a green card.

Under the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act (LIFE Act) and its amendments, a V Visas allow the spouse and unmarried children (below the age of 21 years) of a Lawful Permanent Resident to enter, live and work in the U.S. as non-immigrants until they receive Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status. The spouse is given a V-1 visa and the children are given a V-2 or V-3 visa.

V-1 Spouse Visa:
  • You have married an LPR of the U.S.
  • Your LPR spouse has filed Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) with USCIS on your behalf on or before December 21, 2000 and you are the principal beneficiary of the petition.
  • You have been waiting for at least three years for the approval of the petition for Lawful Permanent Resident status.

V-2 Child Visa:
  • You are unmarried and under the age of 21 years.
  • You are the child of an LPR of the U.S.
  • Your LPR parent has filed Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) with USCIS for you, on or before December 21, 2000 and you are the principal beneficiary of the petition.

V-3 Child Visa:
  • You are unmarried and under the age of 21 years.
  • You are the derivative child of a foreign national who is eligible for a V-1 visa.

Parole in Place allows a foreign national who came into the United States unlawfully (without authorization by an immigration officer) to stay for a certain period of time. It is only available to certain undocumented family members of U.S. military personnel (active or veterans). Individuals who are granted Parole in Place are provided authorization to stay and work in the United States. Besides that, Parole in Place beneficiaries are “paroled” for the purposes of applying for a green card inside the U.S.

Anybody who entered the United States unlawfully (without inspection) can generally not apply for permanent residence (green card) from inside the U.S. This process is known as Adjustment of Status. This means that the undocumented family member cannot apply for a green card unless he or she returns to his or her home country for consular processing.

Unlawful Presence

Unlawful presence typically triggers a 3 to 10-year ban. This policy makes immigration extraordinarily difficult after an unlawful presence, it can create stress and anxiety that adversely affects military preparedness for members of the U.S. armed forces.

The Parole in Place policy ties to prevent the separation of military families. It allows certain family members to remain in the United States. In addition to being in an authorized stay, the former undocumented family member(s) may also be eligible for employment authorization. Generally, immediate family members can adjust status to legal permanent residents (green card).

Parole in Place is only granted on a case-by-case basis for humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. It is considered a lawful immigration status for purposes of specific immigration benefits, such as a Green Card. Note that Parole in Place by itself does not lead automatically to any immigrant status or other immigration benefit.

Eligibility for Parole in Place. A person may be eligible for Parole in Place in one-year increments if he or she is the spouse, widow(er), parent, son, or daughter of:

  • An active-duty member of the U.S. armed forces;
  • A member of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve; or
  • A military veteran (whether living or deceased, as long as he or she was not dishonorably discharged) who served in active duty or in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve.


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