The K-1 visa is also known as the fiancé visa and is awarded to those who are entering the U.S. to legally marry a U.S. citizen. If you are a K-1 visa applicant and have children you wish to bring with you, you will need to go through the process of getting them a K-2 visa.
K-2 Visa Eligibility
To be eligible for a K-2 visa, children must be under the age of 21 and not legally married. As long as your country recognizes the children are yours it is not required for them to be biological children. They can be biological, adopted, or legally born to you. If the other parent of your children is still living in your home country, you are still responsible for complying with your home country’s laws in terms of custody.
K-2 Visa Application Process
When the sponsor (the U.S. citizen you are engaged to), submits your K-1 visa application, they must also include the names of your children. Following this, your children will receive forms that they are required to fill out. If the child is too young to do so, you can fill out the information and sign for them. In this case, you must include “Parent of (child’s name)” after your signature. You and your child are both required to provide proof of financial qualifications. Processing time for both of your application will likely be the same as they are connected. You can expect it to take 4 to 6 months to process.
To bring your children with you to the United States, you must have proof that the children are legally considered yours. This can be proved by providing a birth certificate or certificate of adoption. The same K-1 application paperwork that you have to fill out is also required for your child to receive a K-2 visa. Additional fees will apply for each child.
The final requirement for the K-2 visa is the age requirement. Up to the date, they will enter the United States, all children must be under the again of 21 and remain unmarried during the entire application process. If one of your children will have a 21st birthday before the date of your marriage, USCIS authorities can accelerate the application process.
As a K-1 visa applicant, you will have to have an interview at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy that has jurisdiction over where you live. If you have children over the age of 14, it’s very likely that they will be required to attend the interview with you. They may ask your child questions like “what is the name of the person your parent is going to marry?” or “have you ever met the person?” and “can you tell me anything about this person?” It’s a good idea to have your children ready to answer a few simple questions.
Applying For a Green Card
Once you legally have married the U.S. citizen in the United States, both you and your children are eligible to apply for a green card. Each individual has to have their own application to change their status of residence. To do this you need to file an I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Processing time for this application can take about six months.
Applying for permanent status as a K visa holder is relatively easy as USCIS claims that receiving an immigrant visa when you are immediately related to a U.S. citizen (which you will be upon your marriage) are always immediately available. Because of this, K visa holders are not subject to priority date waiting times. This is true so long as you are married within 90 days of your arrival to the U.S. If your child is over the age of 21 and is unmarried, then they are no longer considered an immediate family member to the U.S. citizen and will instead be eligible for the F1 green card. The disadvantage to this is that your child is then subject to priority date waiting times, which in some cases can be several years depending on your home country.
Benefits Of Acquiring A K-2 Visa
There are many benefits and advantages that children can enjoy if they come to the United States with a K-2 visa. Your children will be allowed to apply for work documents by submitting form I-765 and receiving an EAD or work permit. They are also allowed to study in the U.S., including attending schools and universities.
Once you are the U.S. citizen are married, your children are free to apply for permanent residence status, giving them all of the benefits of a permanent resident. If the K-2 visa application process seems confusing and overwhelming to you, be sure to reach out to a licensed immigration attorney for more information and to learn how to apply for the K-2 visa.