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US Family Visas for Italian Citizens

For Italian citizens seeking to reunite with family members in the United States, US Family Visas offer a gateway to fulfilling these aspirations. These visas encompass a range of categories, each tailored to specific family relationships and immigration objectives.

To navigate the complexities of the application process and to ensure a smooth journey towards family reunification, Italian citizens are encouraged to contact Total Law at +1 844 290 6312 for expert guidance and support.

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    Introduction to US Family-Based Visas for Italian Citizens

    Italian citizens looking to unite with family members in the United States have access to various family-based visa options. These visas play a crucial role in the US immigration system, reflecting the country’s commitment to family reunification. This introduction provides an overview of these visas and their significance.

    Overview of US Family-Based Visas

    The US immigration system offers three key categories of family-based visas, with the primary focus being on Immediate Relative Visas and Family Preference Visas, and a third category for specific circumstances. Immediate Relative Visas are available to the closest family members of US citizens, including spouses, children, and parents. A significant advantage of this category is the absence of an annual limit on the number of visas issued, facilitating smoother and quicker family reunification.

    Family Preference Visas, in contrast, are aimed at more distant familial relationships with US citizens and certain relationships with Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs). This category includes annual limits on the number of visas, resulting in a more competitive and lengthy application process.

    The third category encompasses visas like K visas for fiancé(e)s of US citizens, which are crucial for couples planning to marry and reside in the US.

    Italian citizens, depending on their relationship with a US citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident, can apply for these visas. For instance, US citizens can file immigrant visa petitions for their spouse, son, daughter, parent, or sibling. However, US Lawful Permanent Residents have a more limited scope, being able to file for their spouse and unmarried son or daughter only​​.

    The Role of Family Reunification in the US Immigration System

    Family reunification stands as a cornerstone of the US immigration policy. It acknowledges the fundamental importance of family in an individual’s life and the benefits of maintaining familial bonds. This policy underlines the human aspect of immigration, prioritising the unity of families and ensuring that migration does not lead to long-term family separations.

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    Types of Family Visas


    US visa categories can be broadly categorised into three groups relevant to family and temporary stays: K visas, F visas, and IR visas.

    • Immediate Relative visas are for close relatives of US citizens. These visas cater to the immediate family members, such as spouses (IR-1), unmarried children under 21 (IR-2), orphans adopted abroad (IR-3), orphans to be adopted in the US (IR-4), and parents of US citizens who are at least 21 years old (IR-5). There is no annual limit on the number of immigrants under these categories, which underscores the priority given to keeping immediate families together​​.
    • As part of US family-based immigration, cater to certain relatives of US citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs). These include F1 Visas for unmarried adult children of US citizens, F2 Visas divided into F2A for spouses and minor children of LPRs, and F2B for unmarried adult children of LPRs. F3 Visas are for married children of US citizens, and F4 Visas are for the siblings of US citizens and their immediate families.
    • K visas are for US citizen fiancé(e)s and spouses for immigration-related purposes. The K-1 visa, for instance, allows a foreign-citizen fiancé(e) of a US citizen to enter the United States to marry and subsequently apply for permanent residency. This category reflects the US government’s recognition of the importance of family unification in the immigration process​​.

    IR Visas (Immediate Relative Visas)

    IR-1: Spouse of a US Citizen

    The IR-1 visa is for the spouse of a US citizen. To qualify, the couple must be legally married, and the US citizen must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Common-law and first spouses in polygamous marriages may qualify under certain conditions. There’s no minimum age for the US sponsor to file the petition, but they must be at least 18 years old to sign the Affidavit of Support (Form I-864).

    The US sponsor must maintain their principal residence in the US. The process includes fees, documentation, a visa interview, a medical examination, and vaccinations. The IR-1 visa leads to conditional permanent residency, which can be converted to full permanent residency after meeting certain conditions, including living with the spouse for a specific period​​.

    IR-2: Unmarried Children Under 21 of a US Citizen

    The IR-2 visa is for unmarried children under the age of 21 of a US citizen. The visa allows these children to enter and live in the US lawfully. To be eligible, the child must be under 21 years old, unmarried, and have a US citizen parent who has filed Form I-130.

    The process takes approximately 17-24 months and includes filing paperwork, a medical examination, and a visa interview. The government filing fees for an IR-2 visa application are around €792, excluding medical examination costs. This visa category does not have an annual limit, so eligible children can obtain the visa without waiting for a green card to become available​​.

    IR-3: Orphans Adopted Abroad by a US Citizen

    The IR-3 visa is for children adopted abroad by a US citizen. This visa allows the child to live in the US with their adoptive parents, attend school, and ultimately obtain US citizenship. The adoption process can vary depending on whether the child is from a Hague Convention country or a Non-Hague Convention country.

    For the IR-3 visa, the adoption must be completed in the child’s home country. The IR-3 visa does not have a limit, meaning eligible children can be processed immediately upon application without waiting for their priority date​​.

    IR-4: Orphans to Be Adopted in the US by a US Citizen

    The IR-4 visa is for orphans who are to be adopted within the US by a US citizen. This visa is applicable when the US citizen intends to complete the adoption process in the United States. Similar to the IR-3 visa, the procedures for IR-4 visa applications depend on whether the child is from a Hague or Non-Hague Convention country.

    The visa allows the child to enter the US and live with the adoptive parents until the adoption is finalised. Like other IR visas, the IR-4 visa does not have an annual limit, allowing for immediate processing of eligible applications.

    IR-5: Parents of a US Citizen (21+)

    The IR-5 visa is for parents of a US citizen who is at least 21 years old. To apply, the US citizen must file Form I-130 for each parent. The process involves submitting required documentation, undergoing a medical examination, and attending a visa interview.

    The IR-5 visa allows parents to live permanently in the United States. Like other IR visas, there are no annual limits, facilitating relatively quicker processing and reunification of parents with their US citizen children.

    F1 Visa (Family First Preference)

    The F1 Visa falls under the Family First Preference category, designated for unmarried adult sons and daughters (21 years and older) of US citizens. Applicants of this visa category must have an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, filed by their US citizen parent. The process includes submitting various documents, such as Form I-485 for adjustment of status if already in the US, identity and birth documents, and Form I-864, Affidavit of Support.

    Medical examinations and police records may also be required. The principal applicant has to prove their continuous lawful status in the US if they are applying from within the country. This visa category is subject to annual quotas, which means there can be significant waiting periods before a visa becomes available​​​​.

    F2 Visa (Family Second Preference)

    The F2 Visa, categorised under Family Second Preference, is for spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (regardless of age) of US Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR). This visa category is further divided into two subcategories: F2A and F2B.


    The F2A subcategory is specifically for the spouses and minor children (under 21 years old) of U.S. LPRs. Applicants under this category require an approved Form I-130 filed by the LPR sponsor. The sponsor must meet certain financial requirements, evidenced by Form I-864, Affidavit of Support.

    Like other family preference visas, the F2A visa is subject to annual limits. Still, it generally has shorter waiting periods compared to other family preference categories due to the priority given to maintaining the unity of nuclear families​​.


    The F2B category caters to unmarried adult sons and daughters (21 years and older) of U.S. LPRs. An approved Form I-130 petition filed by the LPR parent is mandatory. The F2B visa process also involves submitting necessary documentation, including identity and birth certificates and the Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) by the sponsor.

    There are annual limits for this category, often leading to longer waiting times before a visa becomes available. The F2B visa helps in reuniting adult children with their LPR parents in the US​​.

    F3 Visa (Family Third Preference)

    The F3 Visa is part of the Family Third Preference category, designated for married sons and daughters of US citizens, along with their spouses and minor children. The US citizen must file Form I-130 for their married child. The process involves comprehensive documentation, including completing Form DS-260, attending a medical examination, and providing various supporting documents.

    Like other family preference visas, the F3 category has a limit on the number of visas issued annually, leading to potentially long waiting times. The F3 Visa allows US citizens to reunite with their married children and their families in the United States​​​​.

    F4 Visa (Family Fourth Preference)

    The F4 Visa falls under the Family Fourth Preference category and is for brothers and sisters of adult US citizens, including their spouses and minor children. To qualify, the US citizen must file Form I-130 on behalf of their sibling. The process includes the standard procedures of family preference visas, such as submission of necessary documents, affidavits of support, and undergoing medical examinations.

    Due to annual numerical limits, the waiting period for F4 visas can be extensive. The F4 Visa plays a significant role in reuniting siblings and their families in the US, emphasising the importance of extended family in the American immigration system​​.

    K-1 Visa (Fiancé(e) Visa)

    The K-1 visa, also known as the fiancé(e) visa, is a nonimmigrant visa allowing the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) of a US citizen to enter the United States. It facilitates the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) to marry their US citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival and subsequently apply for permanent residency (LPR) status. The processing time for a K-1 visa averages around six months, with a total cost of €730.

    A critical requirement for the K-1 visa is the 2-year rule, which mandates that the couple must have met in person at least once within two years prior to applying. This rule ensures the genuineness of the relationship, though exceptions are possible under specific circumstances, such as severe hardship or cultural/religious constraints. After marriage, the K-1 visa holder can apply for adjustment of status to become a permanent resident​​​​.

    K-2 Visa (Children of K-1 Visa Holders)

    The K-2 visa is designed for unmarried children under 21 years of age of K-1 fiancé(e) visa holders. It allows these children to enter and stay in the US along with the K-1 parent. The children must be listed on the I-129F petition filed by the US. citizen for their foreign fiancé(e). Upon the marriage of the K-1 visa holder to a US citizen, K-2 dependents are eligible to apply for permanent residency by adjusting their status.

    These children must enter the US either with or within one year of the issuance of the K-1 visa to the parent. Crucially, the marriage of the parent (K-1 visa holder) and the US citizen must occur before the child turns 21. Unlike the K-1 visa, the K-2 visa is not applicable if the US citizen and foreign national are already married; in such cases, different visa categories, such as the K-4 visa, may be pursued​​.

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      Visa Requirements and Application Process

      General Requirements

      The general requirements for obtaining a US family visa vary based on the specific visa category, but some common elements are consistent across most types. These include:

      • Each visa category has specific eligibility criteria. IR visas cater to immediate relatives of US citizens, while F visas are designed for family preference categories, such as unmarried sons and daughters of US citizens and permanent residents.
      • A US citizen or lawful permanent resident must file a petition on behalf of their relative, typically using Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
      • The petitioner is required to provide Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, demonstrating adequate financial resources to support the immigrant in the United States.
      • Applicants must submit various documents, such as proof of relationship (e.g., birth certificates, marriage certificates), identity documents, and police certificates.
      • Applicants are required to undergo a medical examination conducted by an approved physician and must receive the necessary vaccinations.
      • Most applicants are required to attend a visa interview at a US embassy or consulate.
      • Applicants are responsible for paying the applicable visa fees, which vary depending on the specific visa category.

      Application Process

      The application process for US family visas generally involves several steps:

      • The US sponsor files a petition for the family member, typically using Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
      • After USCIS approves the petition, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC), which collects visa fees and supporting documents.
      • Applicants are required to complete the DS-260, Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application online.
      • Necessary documents, such as the affidavit of support, civil documents, and proof of eligibility, are submitted to the NVC.
      • Applicants prepare for the visa interview, which involves gathering additional documents and undergoing a medical examination.
      • The applicant attends an interview at a US embassy or consulate.
      • Upon approval, the visa is printed and affixed to the applicant’s passport.
      • The visa holder is then able to travel to the United States.

      Completing the US Family Visa Application Form

      Completing the DS-160 or DS-260 visa application form is a crucial part of the application process for US family visas. Here are key tips and requirements:

      • The DS-160 or DS-260 forms can be accessed online through the Consular Electronic Application Center.
      • All information provided must be complete and correct, including name, gender, visa class, date of birth, and passport number, to avoid delays or denials.
      • Depending on the consulate, applicants may be required to upload a photograph or attend a separate appointment for biometrics collection.
      • For questions that require listing multiple entries, such as immediate relatives, the “+ Add Another” option should be used to include all relevant information.
      • In case of non-applicable items on the form, enter “None” or “Not Applicable” instead of leaving blanks.
      • Photographs uploaded should be recent (not older than six months) and measure exactly 2 inches by 2 inches.
      • Thoroughly review the application before submission; clicking the “submit” button is considered an electronic signature.
      • A confirmation page with a barcode is generated after submission, which should be printed and brought to the visa interview.
      • The form allows for editing and saving of data before the final submission is made.

      How Can Our Lawyers at Total Law Help You?

      Total Law offers expert assistance in navigating the complex process of US family visa applications. With a deep understanding of immigration law and procedures, their team provides comprehensive support, from filing petitions to preparing for interviews. They ensure that applications are accurately completed, documentation is in order, and any potential issues are proactively addressed. Total Law’s personalised approach maximises the chances of a successful visa application.

      For dedicated assistance, you can contact Total Law at +1 844 290 6312, where their experienced professionals are ready to help with all your immigration needs.

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