The Legal Immigration and Family Equity (LIFE) Act and amendments, effective since April 1, 2001, created new categories of nonimmigrant visas, including three V Visas, the K-3 Visa, and the K-4 Visa. These extremely helpful visas help ease the immigration process for thousands of individuals, and reunite families separated during the lengthy immigration approval process.
The new categories created by this act allow the issuance of nonimmigrant visas to spouses, children and, in some cases, grandchildren of both lawful permanent resident aliens and spouses of U.S. citizens. Beneficiaries may apply for admission to the U.S. as nonimmigrants and then remain in the U.S. until the visa petition is approved or denied.
The LIFE Act is specifically aimed at spouses and children for whom an immigrant visa or adjustment of status is not available as a result of processing delays or the lack of openings due to annual visa limitations.
Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of legal permanent residents who have waited for three years for visa approval may apply for the V visa.
V-1 visas are issued to spouses; V-2 visas are issued to children; and V-3 visas are issued to derivative children of either spouses or children. In order to be classified as V-3, applicants must show that they are the children of V-1 or V-2 status individuals. All applicants must be eligible for visa issuance under all other applicable immigration laws.
Because V Visas are only available for petitions filed on or before December 21, 2000, the category will cease to exist when there are no more eligible candidates.
V visas are valid for up to two years.
K-3 and K-4 Visas
K visas are open to spouses of U.S. citizens who are the beneficiaries of an immigrant visa petition. The spouses’ unmarried children under the age of 21 are also eligible. After arriving in the U.S. under K status, these visa holders must apply for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status. K visa holders may seek employment regardless of whether their permanent status has been approved.
K visas are valid for up to two years.