Legal permanent residents or U.S. citizens who are filing a petition for their family members living abroad must work with various agencies of the federal government. First, the case begins with a petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. After the petition is approved, the case is sent to the National Visa Center.

The National Visa Center requests documents, a visa application, and an Affidavit of Support.  This is an application used to determine whether the family member will be a public charge upon arrival in the United States.  Unless it is completed correctly, the family member will be denied an immigrant visa.

Blandon Law organizes the documents and completes the visa application to be sure that these meet the requirements of the National Visa Center.  In addition, we advise the U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident on what documents are needed for the Affidavit of Support.  This help is valuable in cases where the petitioner earns irregular or little income

Nonimmigrant Visas

Blandon Law advises both U.S. citizens and foreigners regularly on fiancé visas (K-1). There are also visas available for recently married spouses of U.S. citizens living abroad (K-3). The rules which apply to these cases are quite specific. For example, a foreigner must obtain a K-3 visa in the country where she married. Advice from experienced immigration professionals will avoid costly and sometimes irreparable mistakes.

The K-1 Visa is for a fiancé of a U.S. Citizen whose single purpose is to enter the U.S. to formalize a valid relationship by marrying. The foreigner must marry within ninety (90) days after entering the United States. Minor children of the fiancé can accompany them on a K-2 visa.

The procedure requires proving not only that the couple has a valid relationship but also proving intent to marry immediately upon entry. Therefore, this is not the type of visa that is recommended for a foreigner who wishes to determine whether or not marriage with a long-distance U.S. citizen companion is a possibility. K-1 visa holders who enter the United States and then determine they do not want to marry the U.S. citizen must leave.

Unlike other foreigners who enter the United States and then overstay the amount of time they are allowed to remain in the country, a K-1 will never be able to obtain residency based on marriage to another U.S. citizen in the future.

The criminal record of the petitioner is also very important in K-1 cases. For obvious reasons, persons who have been convicted of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse or other violent crimes cannot petition a foreign spouse.  In fact – because of our strong reputation representing victims of abuse by the powerful — Blandon Law does not represent foreign nationals or U.S. citizens who have been arrested for domestic violence.

Immigrant Visas and Priority Dates

A priority date is the day that the Citizenship and Immigration Services receives the petition filed by the U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.  It is found on the Petition for Alien Relative receipt.

The Department of State Visa Bulletin lets the public know each month when immigrant visa numbers are available.  Only foreigners with a priority date earlier than the date on the bulletin have a visa number.  Until the family member’s visa number becomes current, the family member’s case will remain undecided.  They will not be called for a consular interview.

Cases for the spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens do not have a priority date because those are processed immediately.  There is no time when the case is pending.  Of course, the government agencies still take many months to complete their work.

An immigrant visa is placed in the family member’s passport after the family member is called to the interview.  With this immigrant visa, the family members enter the United States.  When they do, the green card – showing they are legal permanent residents — is mailed to them.