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Immigration Options for Step-Children of Americans: K2, K4, and IR2 Visas

Transcript of the above video:

In this video, I'm going to briefly discuss the curious nature of stepchild visas and we're talking about stepchildren of American citizens. So what are we talking about? There's the IR-1 and CR-1 immigrant visa category for those who are married to United States citizens.

CR-1s are designed for those who have been married to U.S. citizens for two years or less and the reason for the differentiation is those who enter the country in CR-1 status go ahead and enter the traditional permanent residence. They essentially enter with the degree of conditionality of their residence and 90 days prior to their two-year anniversary of that individual's entry to the United States, they can apply for a lift of conditions and once their conditions are lifted, they then are just issued unconditional permanent resident and they're issued a 10-year green card.

The conditionality aspect was created in order to sort of forestall and preclude so-called "marriages of convenience or sham marriages" basically people just getting married to get somebody a green card. They didn't want to see that happening so they created this conditionality aspect where basically the couple had to live together for two years and continue to be married, become a husband and wife and it's sort of felt you're weeding out those folks that are not really married.

IR-1 visa holders come in if they've been married longer than two years at the time of the spouse's arrival in the United States. They come in in IR-1 status. That IR-1 status accords unconditional permanent residence. Now what are we talking about? We're talking about the derivative of these kinds of visas which is the dash 2 category. These are for stepchildren. There's been a marriage. There's an American citizen, there's a Thai citizen and there's a child, we're talking about this in the context of Thailand but it could be any foreign national. And that foreign national and spouse has a child of their own.

It's interesting because the stepchild petition is independent of the actual marriage. In theory, even if the marriage between the parents no longer exist for whatever reason due to death or even possibly divorce and dissolution, annulment (let's not get into annulment) let's just the dissolution of the underlying marriage, it's interesting because the stepchild relationship still exists between the American step parent and the foreign stepchild and for that reason, it is possible to consider that to be an independent category in and of itself and an independent means and an independent posture to go ahead and petition for immigration benefits.

That being said, I suspect that the scrutiny on such a case is very, very significant substantial but such scrutiny probably not unwarranted because it's sort of an interesting request that's being made which is "I want to help my stepchild immigrate notwithstanding the fact that I'm no longer married to that stepchild's parent." It's an interesting quandary. I can see the situation when that would be much necessary situation and when it would be quite logical. I can also see that situations where I would definitely understand heightened scrutiny by consular officer and officer to the Department of Homeland Security.

So it's curious and interesting that that exists under the law and this sort of independent petition exists. But that being said, in most routine cases this just act like any normal derivative visa. Just like I've talked about also on this channel the K-2 and K-4, the child just comes along with their parent and if they enter the United States in IR-2, derivative 2 status, that individual basically enters the United States in such a way that they're an immigrant but as previously noted, their immigrant status is based on an independent relationship with the American citizen's step parent notwithstanding the fact that it came about in sort of a derivative way.

So it's an interesting situation but these visa categories are designed for the children of the spouses of United States citizens or for that matter lawful permanent residence, that's also a possibility. But specifically, in this video we're discussing U.S. citizens so these visa categories were specifically, what we're specifically looking at are derivative visas that were designed to allow the children of the spouse of an American citizen entering into the United States.