Permanent Residents or Green Card holders are authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. United States offers green cards to people in various ways and one of them is the employment based Green Card. In general, this means that an individual will be able to get a green card based on the fact that he or she has a permanent employment opportunity in the United States.
Generally, a sponsor is required to apply for an employment based green card. Wherever a job offer is mandatory for sponsoring the green card, it is for the future job that the employee will do after he or she obtains the green card. Hence it is possible for an employer to sponsor for a green card even if the employee is not working with them currently. There are few categories where a sponsor is not required. There are many people who are already in the United States working for the sponsoring employer with H1 or L1 visas when the green card application is filed.
Who may file?
Getting an employment based green card is a multi-step process. The sponsor must file the Form I-140 to sponsor the employee for a green card. The employer or the sponsor may file the petition for the following:
- An outstanding professor or researcher with at least 3 years of experience in teaching or research in the academic area,
- A person who has been employed in the area of a primary managerial or executive capacity for one year by a legal firm, corporation or other legal entity and who is willing to work in the United States for the same employer or subsidiary.
- Individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences and arts, or an individual having an advanced degree, who will benefit the national economy or the welfare of US
- Individuals who has skills to perform the labor in US where there are no qualified workers for that occupation in the US.
- An unskilled worker to perform the labor in US where there are no qualified workers for that occupation in the US.
If the sponsor or the employer is an individual, then the sponsor must personally sign the form I 140. If the sponsor is below 14 years then the sponsor’s legal guardian must sign the petition. If the sponsor is not an individual and if the sponsor is a legal entity or a corporation, then the employee of the concern, who has knowledge on the facts involved in the petition, must sign the petition.
Along with the petition the supporting documents must be sent to USCIS. One of the major document is the Labor Certification. This certification must be obtained before filing the form I-140 to prove that there are no skilled workers available or willing in US at the time or places of employment of the immigrant. If qualified workers are available then must prove that immigrant’s employment in the occupation will not affect the wages and working conditions of the workers in US.
Most people who wish to help their fiance(e) immigrate to US have a doubt on what form to file, whether K1 visa or Form I 130. It depends on the the length of the relationship, the supporting evidence, the number of times the sponsor or the petitioner has physically met their fiance(e), are few of the considerations to file the appropriate form.
Only the citizens of the US may file a K1 visa for a fiance(e). If you are a legal permanent resident you may then have to file Form I 130 to petition your spouse. A K1 visa is issued to the fiance(e) of a United States citizen to enter the US and marry the United Citizen within 90 days after the entry of the fiance(e) into US. A K3 visa is used by a US citizen to bring his or her spouse to the US. Form I 130 is used by a US Citizen or a legal permanent resident to petition his or her spouse for a green card.
The average waiting time for K1 visa is approximately 7-9 months, K-3 petitions take approximately 8-10 months and Form I 130 petitions take approximately 8-12 months to be processed.
What Form Must I File?
If you are a US Citizen and you wish to bring your fiance(e) to US to get married you must file K1 visa application. On approval of the petition by the US Citizen, the fiance(e) may travel to United States for a period of 90 days. A K-1 visa requires a fiance(e) to marry his or her US citizen sponsor within 90 days of entry into the United States. The fiance(e) may then obtain work permit to work in the United States. It is mandatory that the US Citizen and the fiance(e) must be married within the 90 days period , so that the fiance(e) will be eligible to apply to adjust status to a lawful permanent resident.
If you are a US Citizen and you wish to bring your spouse to US then you must file K3 visa application. You can apply for a K-3 visa for your spouse only after you have filed the I-130 petition. Your spouse can enter the US on a K3 visa while the I-130 is pending and must apply to adjust status to a permanent resident with the USCIS upon approval of the petition.
Form I 130 is used by either by a US Citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident to petition their spouse to immigrate to United States. This process is a lengthy process when compared to that of K1 and other processes.
A K1 visa holder will not be able work or leave the country until they apply for adjustment of status. When they file for adjustment of status, applications for employment and travel will also have to be filed. After 90 days of filing the petition, the spouse may be able to travel and work.
A K-3 visa is a multiple-entry visa and the spouse may travel out of the country. The K 3 visa holder must apply for an EAD/work permit and it has to be filed along with the adjustment of status application.
Once the adjustment of status application is approved, the applicant acquires legal permanent resident status. They may then obtain employment immediately and also travel outside the country.
There are various ways to obtain a permanent resident card or green card. An applicant may obtain a green card through employment, through a family member, asylum and refugee status, through green card lottery program or through adoption by a permanent resident or a US citizen . Most people obtain permanent residency through a family member who is a US citizen or permanent resident of the United States. The United States allows the US citizens and permanent residents to help their family members to live and work permanently in the United States.
1. What is family based immigration?
Family-based immigration helps certain people to become U.S. permanent residents through family members who are either US citizens or US permanent residents. The US citizen or permanent resident who petitions for a family member is called a Sponsor and the person for whom the petition is filed is called the Beneficiary.
2. Who is eligible to sponsor a family member for a green card?
A petitioner or the sponsor must be at least 18 years old, and a US citizen or legal permanent resident to sponsor a family member for a green card. The sponsor generally must live in the United States or in a territory or possession of the US.
3. Whom can I sponsor if I am a U.S. citizen?
If you are a US citizen, you may petition for the following individuals.
- Married or unmarried children,
- Brother or sister (only if you are at least 21 years old),
- Parents (only if you are at least 21 years old)
4. Whom can I sponsor if I am a legal permanent resident?
If you are a lawful permanent resident, you may then petition for your spouse (husband or wife) and unmarried children.
5. How to process a petition for my spouse who is in the United States in a different status?
If you are a US citizen, then you must file Form I 130 to petition for your spouse. Your spouse may also apply to adjust the status to permanent resident at the same time as your petition. If you are a legal permanent resident, you then need to file the same Form I 130. The process differs a little where your spouse will have to wait for an immigrant visa to become available in the second preference category. Once the visa number becomes current, your spouse may apply for adjustment of status. During the application process, your spouse must maintain the non – immigrant status.
6. Can I file for my parents if I am permanent resident?
No, you are not allowed by the law to file for your parents. If you wish to petition for them, then you must be a US citizen.
7. I have petitioned for my husband. Can he join me in the United States when the petition is in process?
Yes, your husband may join you in the United States. You must petition him for a non-immigrant K-3 Visa while Form I 130 is pending. With this K3 visa, he may enter the United States. He is eligible to work while his permanent residency visa petition is pending.
Living in the US after marrying can be boring if the spouse or family is not with you. Such people by all means try to bring their family as well to the US . True enough, uniting with the family and living in the US is a pleasant experience. In order to bring the spouse to the US there are certain procedures and guidelines to be followed which are laid down by the US government.
Spouse refers to the legally wedded husband or wife. Spouse immigration is the process where a non U.S citizen living abroad marries a US citizen and later becomes a lawful permanent resident of the US. By applying for the non immigrant K3 visa the spouse can join the US citizen. The K3 is almost similar to the K1 visa but has its own limitations. Under the US immigration laws, the K3 visa should be applied for by the US citizen spouse at the USCIS office where the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative is pending. K3 visa holders can later on apply for adjustment of status with the Department of Homeland Security after the petition is approved.
Filing the K3 Petition:
One of the mistakes that some couples commit is marrying within the foreign country, and then following the K1 visa process to bring their spouse into the US. It is always a well known fact that K 1 visa is only for a fiance, whom he/she is going to marry and not a spouse. Background checking is conducted thoroughly by the Homeland Security and in cases where they find a record of the fiance already married to the U.S. citizen, the whole process will come to a standstill thereby leading to many complications. It is always fair enough to follow the rules and regulations to have a successful entry with a K3 visa .
As a first step, the US citizen sponsor should file a Petition for Alien Relative with form I-130 with the USCIS. After the notice of action is received, Form I-129F is filed which is the Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), for the foreign spouse and children of the spouse. After the USCIS approves the I-129F, the petition will be sent to the National Visa center which after processing will send it to the US embassy or the consulate. Instructions on how to proceed will be given at the US consulate or the embassy.
Required documents as evidence:
When applying for K3 visa there are certain supporting documents required as evidence and need to be shown at the time of the interview. The supporting documents include birth certificates, marriage certificates, evidence of financial support or Affidavit of support, evidence of relationship with the spouse, proof of income, bank account, medical examinations and vaccination requirements, etc . Certain acts like drug trafficking, overstaying on a previous visa and submitting falsified documents will make the applicant ineligible for a visa. The K3 visa generally holds good for the people who have married a US citizen abroad and who live aboard.
Are you a US citizen wishing to have a lasting marriage and staying with your spouse for the rest of your life? It can be possible if you get the US citizenship for your foreign spouse. The phenomenon of foreign marriage is growing these days as is the desire to share their dreams, values and a lifetime with their soul mates. If you have found a foreign spouse and want to bring him/her to the US and live with her/him it is recommended to get the US citizenship for the spouse.
Ways of getting US citizenship:
Us citizenship is obtained either by birth or through naturalization. To get citizenship for your spouse the only possible way is through naturalization. For your spouse to apply for citizenship he/she must be at least 18 years of age, should have been married to you, the US citizen, and lived in the US for a period of 3 years without disrupting the stay in the US, all this while having a green card. Initially, you could sponsor your spouse for a green card through marriage process and once your spouse meets the requirements he/she will be able to apply for US citizenship.
Documents to be submitted:
While applying for citizenship based on the marriage to the US citizen, it becomes necessary to submit the following documents,
- Form N 400 which is completed
- Copy of the Permanent Resident Card (Back and front)
- Two color photos with the applicant’s name and A number the back of the each photo.
- Evidence to prove that your spouse is a US citizen. The proof can be a birth certificate, citizenship certificate, passport etc
- Your current marriage certificate
- Proof of termination of other previous marriages if any
- Documents to prove that you and your spouse have a good marriage and live together – proof in the form of tax returns, bank accounts, birth certificate of children, etc.
Once your application is complete and is mailed to the USCIS with the required documents, on approval you will be called for the fingerprinting and interview by the USICS. Honest and truthful answers will be favorable with regard to your application. You will be tested for your knowledge in English and your knowledge on the history of the US as well. Based on the interview you will be granted the US citizenship after taking the oath of allegiance . There can be cases when the citizenship will be denied; in such cases an appeal can be made to reconsider the case, but the whole process has to be started from scratch. The oath of allegiance is the final part of the citizenship process which will be conducted as a ceremony notified by the USCIS. This is when you will be receiving the certificate of naturalization and there on you become a US citizen.
The US citizenship rights and benefits that your spouse obtains are numerous. He/she will have the right to vote, apply for a passport, apply for federal jobs, receive social benefits, etc.. Acquiring US citizenship will secure your spouse from anti immigrant laws; not only this, but your spouse can inherit the rights to sponsor relatives and family members to immigrate to US. To have a peaceful and happy life, the ultimate goal for your spouse will be to obtain the US citizenship and enjoy its many benefits.
Of the many visas granted in the United States, visas for visiting the United States comes to you with a time line and you must leave the country or face the risk of being deported. However, there are instances where a person may wish to stay longer in the United States before returning to his or her home country. If that is the case, it is important to file for a visa extension, or change of status, so that you as an applicant are not forcibly removed and also to prevent from being barred from entering the United States in the future.
Lets check some of the eligibility criteria that apply for a US visa extension.
Extending the US visas is not that easy as it might seem on paper. Several different requirments are to be met for your US visas to be extended. An extension can only be applied if:
- You have entered into the US lawfully with a valid non-immigrant visa.
- Your immigrant visa is still valid
- Your passport is still valid and will remain so even during your extended stay in the United States.
- You have not committed any crimes that might invalidate your visa.
- You have not violated any conditions of your admission to the U.S.
If you have met these restrictions, your US visas may be extended by filing the application to extend your stay in the US. One interesting fact is that you can use the same application to either extend or change your status with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS.
You can use the Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Your Nonimmigrant status.
Some US visas are not eligible for an extension. You cannot file to lengthen your stay if you were admitted to the US as:
- A fiance(e) of a US Citizen or child of that fiance(e)
- Being part of the Visa Waiver Program.
- Crew member (D nonimmigrant visa).
- A traveler through the US on a C nonimmigrant visa.
- A traveler through the U.S. without a valid visa.
- An informant of organized crime or terrorism.
Broadly the US visas are categorized into two. They are:
- Immigrant visas: The immigrant visa are for those immigrants who intend to reside permanently in the United States (whether or not they intend to take up work). To qualify for an immigrant visa, a foreign citizen must be sponsored by a US citizen or relative(s) or by a prospective employer. In all these cases an Affidavit of Support Form is required for family-based and employment based immigrants, to prove that there is adequate means of financial support in the United States, by the petitioner or the sponsor(s) for the immigrants.
- Non-Immigrant visas: This is the second type of US visas and is intended for people with permanent residence outside the United States but who wish to be in the United States for a short duration only. In short, their visa is for visiting the United States temporarily. This visa is mainly for persons who are entering for tourism, studies, business, medical treatment, as professional journalists, as representatives of any Government, etc.