Immigration options for relatives of U.S. citizens and residents

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2020 | Family Immigration, US Immigration Law

When it comes to immigration, there are many questions surrounding what options a foreign relative of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident has at their disposal. Being uninformed can lead to unintentionally breaking the law, which can affect a permanent resident’s status, or spending large amounts of time and money on unnecessary paperwork. The following includes some common scenarios regarding relatives of U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Fiancés of a U.S. citizen

A common case seen by immigration attorneys is a U.S. citizen wanting to bring a foreign fiancé to the United States. Fortunately, there is a way to accomplish this. You may have the fiancé apply for the K-1 visa. This allows your partner to travel to the United States and remain here for up to 90 days. During this time, your fiancé must marry you and apply for conditional permanent residence. It should be noted that to obtain a K-1 visa, you and your fiancé will be asked a series of questions to determine the legitimacy of the relationship. Immigration law states that you must prove you met your fiancé at least two years before filing for the visa.


In many cases, children of foreigners will be living in the United States as U.S. citizens. After a child has reached the age of 21, they are legally allowed to petition their parents to become permanent residents and thus legally allowed to enter the U.S. If the parents are within the U.S., they can complete form I-130. If the parents are within their own country, they may seek this application from their nearest U.S. embassy.

Spouses and minor children

U.S. citizens might end up marrying and having children outside of the United States. The U.S. citizen may petition them to come into the country by having their spouse file an I-130 immigrant petition. Once the U.S. has approved the application, the spouse and children are expected to apply for an immigrant visa. Once all legal hurdles have been met and the application has been accepted, the spouse and minor children may enter as permanent residents.

The immigration process can be a complex web of legal hurdles. That is why it is so important to have an experienced attorney at your side. Consulting an attorney may provide you with a timely and accurate application process for your family.