Because U.S. immigration law is constantly changing, it can be challenging to know the current requirements and procedures for foreign-born families and spouses of working American citizens to apply for residency in this country. Although there are online resources available, immigration law can be quite complex. It can be helpful to seek experienced immigration attorneys who are well-versed in current law serving Lancaster County.
According to the American Immigration Council, Pennsylvania is home to a growing immigrant community, and one in ten immigrants is an entrepreneur. In 2018, foreign-born individuals made up 7% of the state’s population, and over half of these were naturalized. Moreover, over 40% of adult immigrants had a college degree or higher.
Applying for K visas
There are different eligibility requirements that a fiancé, spouse or family member must meet when applying for a family immigration visa, so it is important to research or get advice on the correct visa to apply for.
The K-1 visa, also known as the fiancé visa, allows a person to enter the United states as a nonimmigrant with the intention of marrying his or her U.S. citizen fiancé within 90 days. Once married, the visa holder can then apply for an immigrant visa. Any minor children accompanying nonimmigrant fiancées are eligible to receive K-2 visas.
A foreign-born spouse of a U.S. citizen can apply for a temporary K-3 visa while waiting for approval of a residency petition. Both the K-3 and the K-4 visa (for the children of the foreign-born spouse) were created to minimize the time that a U.S. citizen would be physically separated from his family while they are waiting for approval for residency. If the marriage took place outside the United States, the foreign citizen must apply for the K-3 visa from the country in which the marriage took place.
Petition filings for alien relatives
The steps for filing petitions for relatives are complicated, as they must be filed in a certain order. The U.S. citizen sponsor first files the Form I-130, the Petition for Alien Relative to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) office. Then, upon the USCIS notice of receipt, the sponsor then files the Form I-129F, which is the Petition for Alien Fiancé. Once both of these petitions are approved, the need for a K-3 and K-4 will be at an end.