Waivers (I-601)

If you are inadmissible to the United States and are seeking an immigrant visa, adjustment of status, certain nonimmigrant statuses or certain other immigration benefits, you must file this form to seek a waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility.

Temporary Protection Status (TPS)

The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.  USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the United States.  Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS.

The Secretary may designate a country for TPS due to the following temporary conditions in the country:

  • Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war)
  • An environmental disaster (such as an earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic
  • Other extraordinary and temporary conditions

During a designated period, individuals who are TPS beneficiaries or who are found preliminarily eligible for TPS upon initial review of their cases (prima facieeligible):

  • Are not removable from the United States
  • Can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD)
  • May be granted travel authorization

Once granted TPS, an individual also cannot be detained by DHS on the basis of his or her immigration status in the United States.

TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or gives any other immigration status. However, registration for TPS does not prevent you from:

  • Applying for nonimmigrant status
  • Filing for adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition
  • Applying for any other immigration benefit or protection for which you may be eligible

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) creates and supports comprehensive, cost-effective responses to the pervasive and insidious crimes of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.  Since its enactment, VAWA programs, administered by the U.S. Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS), have dramatically improved federal, tribal, state, and local responses to these crimes.

Through the original bill, which passed in 1994, VAWA created the first U.S. federal legislation acknowledging domestic violence and sexual assault as crimes and provided federal resources to encourage community-coordinated responses to combating violence.  Its reauthorization in 2000 improved the foundation established by VAWA 1994 by creating a much-needed legal assistance program for victims and by expanding the definition of crime to include dating violence and stalking.  Its subsequent reauthorization in 2005 took a more holistic approach to addressing these crimes and created new programs to meet the emerging needs of communities working to prevent violence.  Included in the 2005 reauthorization were new focus areas such as prevention, landmark housing protections for survivors, funding for rape crisis centers, and culturally- and linguistically-specific services.  VAWA 2013 ensured the continuation and improvement of these vital, lifesaving programs and expanded provisions to meet the needs of more victims.

Citizenship (N-400, N-600)

There are two general ways to obtain citizenship through U.S. citizen parents: at birth, and after birth but before the age of 18. Congress has enacted laws that determine how citizenship is conveyed by a U.S. citizen parent (or parents) to children born outside of the United States.

Who May Qualify for Acquisition of Citizenship

The law in effect at the time of birth determines whether someone born outside the United States to a U.S. citizen parent (or parents) is a U.S. citizen at birth. In general, these laws require that at least one parent was a U.S. citizen, and the U.S. citizen parent had lived in the United States for a period of time.

In addition, children born abroad may become U.S. citizens after birth. For information and eligibility requirements for specific time periods, see the USCIS Policy Manual, Volume 12, Part H, Children of U.S. Citizens.

Definition of Child

In general, a child for citizenship and naturalization provisions is an unmarried person who is:

  • The genetic, legitimated, or adopted son or daughter of a U.S. citizen; or
  • The son or daughter of a non-genetic gestational U.S. citizen mother who is recognized by the relevant jurisdiction as the child’s legal parent.

Children of U.S. Citizens Residing in the United States

Children who were born outside the U.S. but now live in the U.S. may acquire citizenship under Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). A child born outside of the United States automatically becomes a U.S. citizen when all of the following conditions have been met on or after Feb. 27, 2001:
  • The child has at least one parent, including an adoptive parent, who is a U.S. citizen by birth or through naturalization;
  • The child is under 18 years of age;
  • The child is a lawful permanent resident (LPR); and
  • The child is residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent.

Children of U.S. Citizens Residing Outside the United States

Children residing outside of the United States may obtain citizenship under Section 322 of the INA. A child who regularly resides outside of the United States is eligible for naturalization if all of the following conditions have been met:

  • The child has at least one parent, including an adoptive parent, who is a U.S. citizen by birth or through naturalization;
  • The child’s U.S. citizen parent or U.S. citizen grandparent meets certain physical presence requirements in the United States or an outlying possession;
  • The child is under 18 years of age;
  • The child is residing outside of the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent, or of a person who does not object to the application if the U.S. citizen parent is deceased; and
  • The child is lawfully admitted, physically present, and maintaining lawful status in the United States at the time the application is approved and the time of naturalization.

Note: Children of U.S. citizen military members residing outside the United States may complete the entire process from abroad. For more information, see our Military Citizenship for Family Members webpage.

Work Permits (I-765)

Certain foreign nationals who are in the United States may file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to request employment authorization and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).  Other foreign nationals whose immigration status authorizes them to work in the United States without restrictions may also use Form I-765 to apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for an EAD that shows such authorization.

Removal of Conditions (I-751)

Your permanent residence status is conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than 2 years old on the day you were given permanent residence. You are given conditional resident status on the day you are lawfully admitted to the United States on an immigrant visa or adjustment of your status to permanent residence.

Your status is conditional because you must prove that you did not get married to evade the immigration laws of the United States. To remove these conditions you must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.

Eligibility Criteria

Generally, you may apply to remove your conditions on permanent residence if you:

  • Are still married to the same U.S. citizen or permanent resident after 2 years. You may include your children in your application if they received their conditional-resident status either at the same time or within 90 days as you did;
  • Are a child and, for a valid reason, cannot be included in your parents’ application;
  • Are a widow or widower who entered into your marriage in good faith;
  • Entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage ended through divorce or annulment; or
  • Entered into a marriage in good faith, but either you or your child were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S.-citizen or permanent-resident spouse.

Green Card Replacement and Renewal

It is important to keep your Green Card (Permanent Resident Card) up-to-date. Without a valid Green Card, it may be difficult for you to prove that you are a lawful permanent resident and could affect your ability to travel or to prove your authorization to live and work in the United States.

Who is eligible?

Fiancée Visas (K-1)

A K-1 visa — also called a fiancé visa — allows the engaged partner of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States, as long as the couple gets married no more than 90 days later. The newly married spouse can then apply for permanent residence (a “green card”) based on marriage.

The correct terminology is “fiancée” for a woman who is engaged to be married or fiancé for man. For simplicity, we use “fiancé” to mean either a male or female engaged partner.

Adjustment of Status/Green Card

Adjustment of status (AOS) is the process of changing from a nonimmigrant immigration status (e.g. student, tourist, etc.) to permanent residence (green card holder). U.S. immigration law allows a temporary visitor to change status to a permanent resident if the individual lawfully entered the United States and meets certain requirements. Adjustment of status is one of two paths for obtaining an immigrant visa (green card) to the United States. If the applicant is not eligible for AOS, he or she must use consular processing. Both consular processing and adjustment of status may be available options if the applicant is already in the U.S.

Marriage Visas (K-3, CR-1, I-130)

As a U.S. citizen, you can bring your Fiancé(e) to the United States with the intention to marry and live here with a Fiancé(e) K1 Visa. With the K1 visa, the foreign fiance will be able to travel to the U.S. and marry their sponsor within the 90 days window. Afterward, the foreign citizen can apply for an adjustment of status to become a legal permanent resident (LPR) with USCIS. One advantage of the K1 visa is that the process is relatively fast and typically speedier than a K3 or CR-1 visa (for married individuals). The fiance visa process is about 6 months and becoming a permanent resident thereafter takes about 10.5 months.

Spouse visas, on the other hand, offer two possible options–IR-1 or CR-1 and K3 visas. You can bring your spouse to the U.S. by way of a Petition for Alien Relative, I-130 or nonimmigrant visa (K3). A “spouse” is defined as the legally wedded husband or wife, including same-sex spouses of U.S. citizens and LPRs. In some cases, common-law spouses may qualify for the same benefits. The CR-1 spousal visa is valid for 6 months and permits the holder to come to the U.S. and reside permanently. With this visa, no adjustment of status is necessary.