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Family Immigration Visa

A USA Green Card, or Permanent Residence Card affords its holder many of the same rights and privileges enjoyed by United States Citizens. Although there are some exceptions, most notably the right to vote, Green Card holders are nonetheless permitted to live and work in the USA with no time limits imposed on their stay. A US Green card can be obtained through an employment-based route with a job offer from an American firm. However, for the relatives of US permanent residents and US citizens, a range of visas leading to permanent USA immigration are available.

US Visas for Parents and Siblings

This route to a US green card is open to the parents or siblings of existing US citizens, though not US permanent residents who have not yet naturalised. US permanent residents who wish to bring a parent to live and work in the USA will need to undergo the process of naturalisation as a US citizen before they can apply to do so. The benefits of family visas for the sponsored relative are numerous; they may seek and undertake employment as they see fit, once they have obtained US work authorisation, and unlike the system of employment-based green cards no specific requirements are imposed upon them.

Applying for a US Green Card Sponsor Requirements

A US citizen wishing to sponsor a parent or sibling to join them in the USA must agree to take legal responsibility for their relative and sign an affidavit of financial support. This document will remain in effect until the sponsored relative has either completed ten years of work in the USA or has become a US citizen in their own right. Sponsors will also be liable for the repayment of any public benefits which the relative may receive.

US Green Card for Spouse Immigration

Unlike sponsoring parents and siblings, the option of sponsoring a spouse or fiancé to relocate to the USA is open to both US citizens and US permanent residents. The procedure for sponsoring a spouse may be conducted outside the USA or from within the country.

US IR-1 visa and CR-1 visa

Where the application for spouse immigration is conducted outside the USA, the applicant will be granted an IR-1 visa, or a CR-1 visa depending on the circumstances. A US IR-1 visa, or immediate relative visa, is granted where the marriage has been in existence for two years or more and permits the applicant to immigrate to the USA unconditionally. For marriages which are less than two years old at the time of application a US CR-1 visa, will be granted which imposes a conditional period of two years.

The US K-3 Visa US Spouse Visa

K-3 Visas for spouse immigration follow a process which is begun in the country where the marriage took place but is completed within the United States. Parties must be legally married, and over the age of eighteen and a range of supporting documentation will be required including the marriage certificate, police clearances and medical examinations. Where marriages have been in existence for less than two years, a conditional USA Green Card will be issued for a duration of two years. If after this initial grant the marriage is still in place, the parties involved can apply for a Green card for lawful permanent residency. When a sponsored applicant has dependent children, these dependents will be permitted to immigrate to the USA and will be issued the derivative K4 visa.

US K-1 visa Fiancée Visas

The K-1 visa is an interim visa which is granted to the fiancée of a sponsoring US permanent resident or citizen. These visas are granted for a period of ninety days, during which time the couple must marry, and the US visa status will be converted to a K3 spouse visa. A K1 visa does not permit the sponsored fiancée to begin working in the USA, however, once the marriage has taken place the applicant can apply for Adjustment of Status (AOD) and will be permitted to seek and undertake employment.

US Visas for dependent children

As described above, dependent children of a K3 spouse visa holder will be issued with a K4 visa allowing them to study in the USA and to pursue work authorisation. Similarly a dependent child of an applicant in possession of a K1 fiancée visa will be issued with a K2 visa. The US also offers the IR-3 visa and IR-4 visa which provide routes for foreign-born adopted orphans to be brought to the USA. IR3 and IR-4 visas are only valid for children under the age of 16 and the sponsors must be US Citizens aged 25 or more. In all cases prospective adoptive families will need to be thoroughly scrutinised by United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).