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Family-Based Immigration

U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPR) who are at least 21 years old may apply for an immigrant visa for their foreign relative. U.S. citizens can file an immigration visa petition for their spouse, child, parent, or sibling, while an LPR can only file for their spouse or unmarried child. 

Understanding Family-Based Immigrant Visa Categories

  • Immediate Relative Visas – These are visas based on a close family relationship with a U.S. citizen, such as being their spouse, child, or parent. 
  • Family Preference Visas – These visas are based on specific, more distant family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some specified relationships with an LPR. 

The number of family visas for immediate relatives is not limited each fiscal year, but family visas based on family preference are limited each fiscal year.

Fiancé/Fiancée Visas

The U.S. also offers visas for foreign fiancé(e)s. U.S. citizens seeking to bring their foreign fiancé(e) to the country in order to marry can file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), which is the first step to obtaining a K-1 nonimmigrant visa, or the Fiancé(e) Visa. 

Key Criteria for K-1 Visa Applicants

  • The petitioning individual is a U.S. citizen.
  • The petitioner and their foreign fiancé(e) intend to marry one another within 90 days of the fiancé(e)’s admission to the U.S. on a K-1 nonimmigrant visa.
  • The petitioner and their fiancé(e) are both legally allowed to marry in the United States.
  • The petitioner and their fiancé(e) met each other in person at least once within 2 years of filing the petition. (This requirement may be waived in special situations, such as if meeting in such a way would violate cultural norms and customs or would result in extreme hardship to the petitioner).

To reiterate, the key requirement for obtaining a K-1 fiancé(e) visa is the 90-day rule, which requires that the couple must marry within 90 days of the foreign fiancé(e) entering the U.S. The marriage must be legally valid, primarily that the marriage is not for the sole purpose of obtaining immigration.

Get Professional Assistance with Your Marriage Visa Application

Whether you have questions about petitioning for a fiancé(e) visa or a family-based visa for your spouse or child, Attorney Gregory J. Eck is here to help. He can help you build a solid petition for bringing your family member over to the U.S. and guide you through all the steps of the process, including gathering the necessary documents and undergoing the required interviews.


Start Your Family Visa Journey Today with the Law Office of Gregory J. Eck to get started today.

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