Family-Based Immigration

1. How Do I Become A Permanent Resident Through Marrying a U.S. Citizen

There are two ways to become a permanent resident through marriage to a United States Citizen (USC): you can enter the U.S. by asking the USC fiancé(e) to apply for K-1 visa. Then getting married and applying I-485 to adjust your status to permanent resident. Or to get married first, then ask the USC spouse to apply “Petition for Alien Relative” and then “Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status” if the alien spouse is in the U.S. or go through consulate processing after “Petition for Alien Relative” is approved.

K-1/K-2 VISA

K-1/K-2 visas are issued to U.S. citizens’ fiancé(e)s and their children who are outside the U.S. and would like to join the USC here. After the K-1 petition is approved, the fiancé(e)s and their children must obtain visas issued at a U.S. Embassy or consulate abroad. The marriage must take place within 90 days of the fiancé(e)s entry into the U.S. If the marriage does not take place within 90 days or the fiancé(e) marries someone else, the fiancé(e)s and their children will be required to leave the U.S. A fiancé(e) may not obtain an extension of the 90-day original nonimmigrant admission.

If the fiancé(e) intends to live and work permanently in the U.S., he/she should apply to become a permanent resident after the marriage. Please note, the fiancé(e) will initially receive conditional permanent resident status for two years, permanent resident status will be granted after filing and being reviewed by USCIS that marriage is bona fide.

Conditional Permanent Resident Status

No matter which way you go, if the marriage lasts no more than two years before the petition, the alien spouse will get conditional permanent resident status first. The conditional permanent resident status has the same effect with permanent resident status except there is time limit–will be effective for two years. You can apply for “Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence” within 90-day window period before your second anniversary of getting conditional permanent resident status to get permanent resident status.

Removal of Conditions on Permanent Residence

a.If you are still married to the USC who sponsored you to get conditional permanent resident status, you and your spouse should file jointly to remove the condition.

b.You may apply for a waiver of the joint filing requirement, if: 1) you entered the marriage in good faith, but your spouse subsequently died; 2) you entered the marriage in good faith, but the marriage was later terminated due to divorce or annulment; 3) you entered the marriage in good faith and have remained married, but have been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by your USC spouse; 4) the termination of your status and removal would result in extreme hardship.

2. A U.S. Citizen Can Also File Immigrant Visa Petition for Parents, Children, Adult Sons and Daughters and Siblings

3. A Permanent Resident Can File Immigrant Visa Petition for Spouse, Children and Unmarried Sons and Daughters

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