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Family Immmigration

National Immigration Attorneys want to keep and reunite families. One such challenge is simply gaining an understanding of the complex immigration laws — the first step in moving forward. To help you with that, on this page, we'll give you a sketch of four important areas of family immigration law.


The K-1 visa, also called the fiancée visa, is a temporary visa. The K-1 is given to the person with whom a U.S. citizen is engaged so they can come to the U.S. and get married and begin the process of becoming a lawful U.S. resident.

The pathway to becoming a permanent resident through the K-1 program involves five steps:

  1. The U.S. citizen is the petitioner and first files Form I-129F with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petitioner must show that they have met in the last two years and intend within 90 days to marry.
  2. The National Visa Center (NVC) will send the petition to the embassy or consulate of the foreign-born partner. The visa given will allow a single entry into the U.S. which must be used within six months.
  3. The foreign-born partner travels to the U.S. and is granted a stay with the requirement that they must be married to the petitioner within 90 days.
  4. As soon as possible after the wedding, the foreign-born spouse should fill out Form I-485 to apply to USCIS to adjust their status to a permanent resident.
  5. A process begins after filing Form I-485 and, in some cases, the permanent status and green card will be given as soon as 8 to 14 months.


    What is the Process of Getting a Green Card Through Marriage?

    For the foreign-national spouse of a U.S. citizen to obtain a Green Card, the process differs depending on various situations. But, no matter what, the first step is for the spouse who is the U.S. citizen, who is called the petitioner, to file a Form I-130 with the USCIS. In this case, the purpose of the form is to prove that their marriage is real. Again the spouse who is the citizen is the one who files the I-130 because they are a citizen.

    For a foreign-national spouse who is already living in the U.S., they would fill out the Form I-485. This is a form meant to change status as a U.S. resident to permanent. From there, a green card may be granted in 8 to just over a year.

    For a foreign-national spouse living outside the U.S., they must file a package with the National Visa Center. This package contains Form DS-260, proof of nationality, a certificate of police clearance, and an I-864, proving their spouse can provide financial support. The Green Card is often granted from there in a year to a year and a half.

Can I Apply for a Green Card for my Parents?

First you must be over 21 years old. Then you could petition for Green Cards for your parents. To start, you'd file a Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative), one for each parent, with the USCIS. USCIS will send the approved Form I-130 to the National Visa Center (NVC), which will send it on to the embassy or consulate of your parents' country. The embassy or consulate will notify your parents of what they should do to gain their immigrant visas. Also, at this time, the NVC will send you a Form I-864 (so you can prove you can financially support your parents). If you can not support your parents this will not be granted.

If the petition is granted, your parents could have Green Cards in less than 6 months. If your parents are already living in the U.S., you can file the Form I-130 and Form I-864 together. In this situation, your parents may not be required to go back to their home country and work with their embassy or consulate to get their immigrant visas otherwise they will have to go home and then they will be permitted to re-enter.

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