Rights and Protections for Foreign Spouses and Fiancées
Important Pamphlet: For K-1, K-3, IR-1/CR-1, and F2A Immigrant Visa Applicants (International Marriage Broker Regulation Act)
An immigrant visa is required for anyone who wishes to move permanently to the United States. Once you enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa, you will become a Permanent Resident (also known as a "green card" holder). There are three ways to be eligible for an immigrant visa and each is described briefly below. For more detailed information about each category, please see the Department of State's website on immigrant visas and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service's webpage about immigrating to the United States.
U.S. citizens can file immigrant petitions to sponsor their spouse, siblings, parents, and children. Permanent Residents can file petitions to sponsor their spouse and children under the age of 21. U.S. law does not permit either American citizens or Permanent Residents to sponsor their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, or in-laws. Some categories of visas are numerically limited each year. For information on numerical limits, priority dates and age cut-offs, please see the State Department’s Visa Bulletin.
Every fiscal year (October 1st – September 30th), approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are made available to qualified applicants under the provisions of U.S. immigration law. There are five categories of employment immigrant visas. In several categories, the employer must file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service describing the job and the prospective employee's unique qualifications for that position. If the petition is approved, then the prospective employee/immigrant must wait for a visa to become available as there are only a certain number each year. For information on numerical limits, priority dates and age cut-offs, please see the State Department’s Visa Bulletin.
A Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery makes available 55,000 immigrant visas each year to people randomly selected from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Eligibility to apply for the DV Lottery is determined by a person’s place of birth, not by a person's current country of citizenship. For additional information about the program, please consult our page about the DV Lottery and the Department of State's Diversity Visa Lottery page.