Any U.S. citizen can sponsor a visa application for an immediate family member who lives overseas. Immediate family member means a spouse, minor child under 21, or a parent. This visa category can be issued without regard to the annual quota or limit on other family sponsored visas provided that the U.S. citizen who applies on behalf of an immediate family member meets the residency and financial requirements for sponsorship. There are several methods for filing this type of visa and each case should be reviewed on an individual basis. Please contact one of our attorneys to discuss your options and optimal strategy if this situation applies to you.
A K-1 Visa for a fiancé:
A US citizen may be able to bring his/her overseas fiancé(e) to the U.S. prior to getting married pursuant to a K-1 visa. In order to qualify, the sponsor and his/her fiancé(e) must show proof that they have met in person at least once prior to the fiancé(e)’s arrival in the US. The petition for a K-1 is processed initially with the appropriate US Citizenship and Immigration Services (US CIS) Service Center with final processing completed at the US Embassy/Consulate abroad where the fiancé(e) appears for an interview with the Consular officer. Once the fiancé(e) arrives in the United States, the couple MUST marry within 90 days of entry, otherwise the fiancé(e) has violated his/her nonimmigrant visa status. It cannot be extended or re-generated without a return abroad.
K-3 and K-4 Visas for a spouse and children:
A US citizen with an overseas spouse or child may be able to bring his/her family to the US under this temporary visa, prior to issuance of a more formal US Resident Alien status. The beneficiary must be married, and children (K-4 Visa) either (i) must be born to the US citizen prior to the time the sponsor became a U.S. citizen, (ii) adopted before the age of 16, or (iii) a stepchild when the marriage to the biological parent took place and before the child was 18 years old.
These K-3/K-4 petitions MUST BE processed by a US CIS Regional Service Center and later completed at the US Embassy/Consulate abroad where the foreign national was married to the US citizen (note, this is different from the place of current residence). If the marriage took place in the US, then the interview can be held in the foreign national’s country of residence. K-3/K-4 Visas are valid for 2 years. Foreign nationals have the option of processing the final Resident Alien status within the US or at the US Embassy/Consulate abroad. Please note, the 3 and 10-year bars to U.S. entry can still apply to family members who have spent significant time in the US while out of status.
If you entered the United States without visa and are working here without legal documentation, your employer may be able to help you. But it’s important to understand that just because your employer wants to help doesn’t mean you will be able to obtain a green card. The process for obtaining a green card is complicated and depends on many factors, including your prior history (and your family’s prior history) in the United States. So it’s good that your employer wants to help but the first step is to call us for an interview so we can understand more about your situation.
A work permit is a common way of referring to an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which is issued by the Immigration Service (which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security). Under U.S. law, you need a work permit or EAD in order to become a legal employee of a U.S. company. Many lawyers will promise to get you a work permit, but you have to be careful about this. The catch is that you can’t simply apply for a work permit or EAD in itself. In order to apply for a work permit you have to make an application for legal status in this country on some other basis. Don’t believe any other lawyer or person who tells you it’s an easy thing to get a work permit. Call us for an interview and we can explain to you how the process and immigration laws in the United States really work.
As a result of the injunction issued by the District Court in Texas, applications for the expanded DACA program and DAPA are currently on hold. The Department of Homeland Security is not currently accepting requests for the expansion of DACA, as originally planned. Until further notice, it has suspended the plan to accept requests for DAPA.
The Court’s order does not affect the existing DACA. Individuals may continue to come forward and request initial grant of DACA or renewal of DACA pursuant to the guidelines established in 2012. This ruling only delays the start of DAPA and the expansion of DACA.
It’s important that you speak with a qualified attorney who can explain all the options and issues relating to your immigration status. Do not take advice about your immigration case from a notary public or an immigration consultant. The U.S. immigration laws and rules are very complicated and many people take advantage of undocumented immigrants, making promises and charging money without providing honest advice. Contact only a qualified immigration lawyer for legal advice about your case. If you encounter 'notarios' who offer legal advice without a license, report it.
You can begin preparing now! Even though DHS is not currently accepting applications under DAPA or the expanded DACA programs, individuals who are potentially eligible for Deferred Action status should begin preparing their applications now. It is very likely that the Texas decision will be overturned and there will probably be a rush of applicants when that happens. Individuals should be ready with their applications and start now by gathering the necessary documentation and seeking good counsel to give themselves the best chance for success and to avoid potential problems.
If you are a U.S. citizen or have a Green Card, then yes, you can apply for a visa for your family members. But the process can take a long of time, depending on your own status. If you’re a U.S. citizen, it might take 8 months to a year to process the application. The waiting time will be much longer if you’re a Green Card holder. Generally, the sooner you start the process the better, so contact one of our attorneys now to get started or browse our site to learn more about the different types of visas available for family members.
Whether you can travel abroad depends on your immigration status. If you have been granted DACA or if you have a Green Card in hand – you still must ask for advanced permission in order to leave the country. This is called advanced parole. Obtaining advance parole is relatively inexpensive. But it is not without risk, because there is really no way to guarantee that you will be able to return. Your return is ultimately within the discretion of the authorities at the point of your reentry to the U.S.
If one of your employees entered the United States without visa and is working here without legal documentation, you may be able to help this person obtain legal immigration status. This doesn’t necessarily mean they will be able to obtain a green card. The process for obtaining a green card is complicated and depends on many factors, including a person’s prior history (and their family’s prior history) in the United States. It’s definitely helpful to their case if you, as their employer, are willing to help, but the first step is to have the employee call us for an interview so we can understand more about their situation.
A work permit is a common way of referring to an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which is issued by the Immigration Service (which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security). Under U.S. law, an employee needs a work permit or EAD in order to become a legal employee of a U.S. company. Many lawyers will promise to get undocumented immigrants work permit. But you have to be careful about this. The catch is that you can’t simply apply for a work permit or EAD in itself. In order to apply for a work permit a person must make an application for legal status in this country on some other basis. So don’t let your employees get gulled into believing that it’s easy to get a work permit by some lawyer or hustler on the street corner. Call us for an interview and so we can explain to your employees how the process and the immigration laws in the United States really work.