For those living in another country wanting to immigrate to the U.S., one method of immigration is through family sponsorship. If the foreign citizen has an immediate relative that is already a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, that relative can petition for the foreign citizen’s immigration. Depending on the U.S. based relative’s relationship to their foreign relative, different forms will be necessary and different visas will be assigned.
The Green Card
The green card is used for permanent residence. Spouses, children, parents, and siblings qualify for the green card. The first form in the process is typically the petition itself, form I-130. As part of the approval process, the U.S. based family member must also prove that they have enough income or assets to support the foreign relative when they come to the U.S. This is usually shown in the I-864 form – the Affidavit of Support. Another form used in the application of a green card is the I-485 form – the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
The Fiancé(e) Visa
The fiancé(e) visa is just that, a visa for a foreign citizen the U.S. based citizen is engaged to. This visa also includes children of the fiancé(e) under 21 years old. The form used in this visa is the I-129F form, the Petition for Alien Fiancé(e).
K-3/K-4 Nonimmigrant Visas
These are rare visas meant to shorten the time for Fiancé(e)s and relatives to wait for a decision on the I-130 initial petition form. This form applies to spouses and children of the spouse, so long as they are unmarried and under 21. The K3/K4 visa holders may also apply for a green card while waiting on the approval of their I-130 petition form.
A long process
Family immigration – even with all the necessary paperwork filed – is a long and arduous process. It is not unheard of for the waiting period of an application to take a decade or longer. Skilled immigration lawyers can help identify and solve issues with stalled waiting periods.