Spouses, parents and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of U.S. citizens qualify as immediate relatives.
The advantage of being placed in this category is that there are no quota restrictions on number of applicants. Therefore, they get green cards relatively quickly as compared to some other categories. The typical processing time for such applications is between 6 and 12 months.
To qualify as an immediate relative child (unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizen), the child must be under 21 years old and unmarried. If the visa petition is filed before the child's 21st birthday, the child may still qualify for a green card even if s/he "ages out" and attains the age of 21 years due to application processing delays.
It is noteworthy that unmarried does not mean never married. Therefore, to qualify as unmarried, the child may be divorced or widowed. Moreover, as long as s/he is under 21 and unmarried, the child's children (grandchildren of U.S. citizen petitioner) may also qualify to immigrate at the same time as their parent.
Family member of a U.S. citizen:
Family member of a lawful permanent resident:
Widow or widower of a U.S. citizen and you were married to your U.S. citizen spouse at the time your spouse died.
U.S. Citizens residing in the U.S. may shorten the amount of time they remain separated from their spouses and children under 21 years of age with K-3 and K-4 visas respectively. The children get the visa at the same time the spouse's petition is approved.
U.S. Citizens who plan to get married in the United States can apply for a K-1 for their fiancé(e) living abroad. The Visa allows the fiancé(e) to enter the United States for 90 days to have the marriage ceremony in the United States.
Evidence Required for Fiancé(e) Visa
Note: If you committed violent criminal offenses against a person or persons, but were battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by a family member or intimate partner at the time you committed your violent offenses, and you were not the primary perpetrator of violence in the relationship, you may still be eligible for a waiver if USCIS determines that you violated a protection order intended for your protection; you were acting in self-defense; or you committed, were arrested for, were convicted of, or pleaded guilty to committing a crime that did not result in serious bodily injury and there was a connection between the crime committed and you having been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty.
Examples of such evidence may include, but are not limited to: police reports, court records, news articles, trial transcripts, evidence you acted in self-defense, evidence you were a victim of abuse or battery, evidence you violated a protection order intended for your protection, and any credible evidence that is relevant to your request for a waiver.
You must submit evidence explaining the reasons for your multiple filings, as well as evidence to support a finding that you qualify for a mandatory waiver based on being subjected to battery or extreme cruelty. USCIS cannot approve your petition unless a waiver of the multiple-filing limitation is granted.
Jagat Kooner, Esq. Admitted to Minnesota Bar. Authorized to Practice Immigration and Nationality Law in All 50 States and US Territories Pursuant to 8 USC 1292.1. Law practice in California limited exclusively to immigration law. Our office does not provide legal advice on California or any other state law.