Family Immigration

We help with Family Based Green Cards, Spouse and Fiance Visas.

chicago citizenship attorney

Dedicated to bringing Families together – Chicago Immigration Attorney Kurt Larsen understands the complexities of the immigration process and is skilled and proficient at obtaining approved visas.  His awareness of the immigration process is more than professional; he has personally experienced immigration through obtaining a spousal visa for his wife and then adjusting her status to that of a permanent resident.  Therefore, the handling of every individual case is of special importance to him.

Chicago Immigration Attorney Kurt G. Larsen:  20 years of Experience

Bringing your  Relatives to the U.S. (“Immediate Relatives”)

Immediate relatives are defined as children, spouses, and parents of United States citizens.  There is no limit to the number of immediate relative visas that may be issued in this category in any given year. Immediate relatives may obtain an immigrant visa or adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident upon approval of an immigrant visa petition without having to wait for a visa to become available.

The alien spouse or child of an immediate relative does not automatically acquire permanent residence when the principal applicant obtains such status.
The only exception is for children of a widow or widower of a U.S. citizen.

Family-based Preference Categories

Family-based preference categories apply to family immigrants other than immediate relatives. It lists four preference categories:

The first preference category consists of unmarried sons or daughters of U.S. citizens.

The second preference family-based category deals with relatives of permanent residents of the United States and is divided into two subgroups each with a separate waiting list for available visas: Spouses and minor children of permanent residents, and unmarried sons or daughters (but not their children) of permanent residents.

Under the third preference category falls a married son or daughter of the U.S. citizen.

The fourth preference category permits U.S. citizens over the age of twenty-one to petition their brothers and sisters for permanent residence.

These preference categories are subject to annual visa limits. This also means that there are visa backlogs in some preferences. Available visas are issued to beneficiaries in order of their priority date, which is the date that their petition for permanent residence is filed.

Immigration Based On Marriage

A United States citizen or lawful permanent resident petitioning to classify a spouse as an immigrant must demonstrate that they and the immigrating spouse (the beneficiary) have a legal marriage.  Generally, if the marriage was valid where performed, it is considered legal unless it violates public policy.  Additionally, the petitioner must establish that the marriage was not entered into for the purpose of evading the immigration laws.  Therefore, it is possible that a marriage may not be recognized for immigration purposes even though it is legal.

Marriage-based immigration has long been controversial due to the fact that the genuineness of a marriage relationship often cannot be objectively measured.  A legal marriage is considered to be valid for immigration purposes if, at its inception, the couple intended to establish a life together and assume certain duties and obligations.  If the sole intention was to secure the immigrating spouse’s legal residency in the United States, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will consider the marriage to be fraudulent or a “sham” and not valid for immigration purposes.

Spouse and Fiance Visas

K-1 Visas

A K-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa benefiting fiance(e)s of US citizen petitioners. It allows the fiancé(e) of an American citizen to enter the United States for a 90-day period in order to marry the American citizen and apply for a change of status to Permanent Resident.

Generally, the couple must have met in person within two years of filing the petition.  However, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant an exception to this requirement in those cases where it may be contrary to the couple’s cultural traditions for a man and woman to meet before marriage.  USCIS may consider a person to be a fiancé/fiancée even after a marriage contract has been concluded in cases where the American citizen petitioner and the foreign national spouse have not met and consummated the marriage.  Additionally, the fiancé/fiancée must also meet some of the requirements for an immigrant visa.

K-2 Visas

Dependents of a K-1 visa holder may enter the United States with a K-2 Visa: Children under the age of 18 of a K-1 visa holder may obtain K-2 visas to accompany the K-1 parent.  K-4 children may attend school upon arrival, and after the marriage of the K-1 parent to the U.S. citizen petitioner, may obtain employment authorization.

K-3 / K-4 visas

Spouses of U.S. citizens and the spouse’s children can also come to the United States on K nonimmigrant visas (K-3/K-4) in order to complete the immigration process in the United States. The U.S. citizen must first file an immigrant visa petition on the spouse’s behalf before filing a nonimmigrant K-3 visa petition.

Additionally, before a K-4 visa can be issued to a child, the parent must have a K-3 visa or be in K-3 status.