USA and the UK
Overview of Immigrating to America from China
There are different ways to immigrate from China to the USA. The methods of immigrating to the USA from China include:
- K-1 Fiancé Visa
- Marriage-Based Green Cards
- K-2 Visa
- IR-2 Child Visa
- F-1 Visa
- EB-5 Program
Immigrant and K visas that are issued in mainland China are processed at the U.S. Consulate General Guangzhou. Those who want to immigrate to the U.S. from China usually have to make a petition to be approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before they can apply for their immigrant visa. A potential employer or qualified relative may fill the petition at the USCIS office in the U.S.
With an approved petition, you become eligible to apply for a K nonimmigrant visa or an immigrant visa. The National Visa Centre (NVC) or the U.S. Consulate General Guangzhou notifies immigrant visa applicants when it is time for them to schedule interviews. The U.S. Consulate General Guangzhou notifies K visa applicants of the interview times.
A U.S. citizen may file the I-129F petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office which covers the applicant’s permanent place of residence. It is important to note that it is not permitted for I-129F applications to be filed overseas.
As the U.S. Department of State is transitioning to paperless processing, you may receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) instructing you to carry out the processing of your application online. Online processing requires that you upload documents to the online Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC).
- Overview of Immigrating to America from China
- Methods of Immigrating to America from China
- Before the Immigrant Visas Interview
- What Documents Do I Need to Provide?
- What are the Fees and Processing Times to Immigrate from China to America?
- What Happens If My Application is Rejected?
- What Happens After My Application is Approved?
- How can IAS Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
K-1 Fiancé Visa and Marriage-Based Green Cards
The K-1 visa process for Chinese citizens mirrors the general K-1 visa process for people applying from other nations.
Marriage-based green cards can be used by those who are married or considering getting married soon. The process to obtain a marriage-based green card depends on where the Chinese spouse lives and whether the sponsoring spouse is a permanent resident or U.S. citizen. The requirements to be eligible for marriage-based green cards differ, depending on where a Chinese spouse lives and whether the spouse providing the sponsorship is a permanent resident or a U.S. Citizen.
The EB-5 program was created to stimulate economic growth in the U.S. through granting of visas based on investments by foreign investors. Using the EB-5 program, you may be eligible to apply for U.S. permanent residency as a group together with your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old. This method is considered to be a popular way of getting authorization to work in the U.S. as it allows applicants to apply as a family.
Those who use the EB-5 Visa option can also apply for Green Cards and permanently live in America.
If you’re immigrating to the U.S. from China using the K-1 visa route, your children could use the K-2 visa to immigrate with you as the children of K-1 fiancé visa holders can enter the U.S. with their parents.
IR-2 Child Visas
U.S. citizens with biological children living in China may sponsor their kids for green cards, using the IR-2 child visa. Form I-864W would need to be filled to apply for the child visa.
With the F1 Visa, an applicant can enter America to attend a school such as university, college, private elementary school, high school, conservatory, seminary, or other academic establishment.
Green Card Through Employment
To get a Green Card through employment, a Chinese citizen may use one of the following visas:
- Priority work visas – E1 and E2 residence permits;
- Visas for professionals with exceptional competencies or advanced degrees;
- C5 residence permit for creative individuals;
- Visas for other workers depending on their qualifications
Before the Immigrant Visas Interview
Most cases are decided after an interview and review of the evidence of ties an applicant provides. The burden of proof may be placed on the applicant to show that they have ties abroad that would compel them to leave after the end of their stay in the U.S.
It is important to prepare for the interview. In certain cases, the U.S. Consulate General makes requests for additional information or documentation. Instructions are provided by the consular office on how to submit those documents to the consulate after the interview.
Prior to the Interview for Chinese Immigrants
Before the interview, you should make sure you have the following documents ready to submit:
- A copy of your interview letter from the National Visa Center (not applicable to Diversity Visa, asylee/refugee, fiancé, or adoptive applicants.
- Passport that is valid for at least 8 months beyond the visa issuance date.
- Any expired or canceled passports in your possession
- Two 2×2 inch full-face color photographs (no more than six months old) with a background
- Printed confirmation page of the Form DS-260 application for an immigrant visa that you submitted online
- Printed online confirmation page of your online appointment registration
- Birth certificate with a certified english translation
- Police certificate for applicants over the age of 16 years old that has been issued within the last 24 months
- Court and prison records for applicants who have committed a crime in the past
- Marriage, divorce, and death certificates
- Evidence of relationship with the partner
- Money transmittal records
- Proof of biological children
- Records of communication
- Medical examination results
- Affidavits of financial support
- Petitioner’s documents
- Certified military records if you have served in any country’s military
- Copies of extension applications and approval notices if you traveled to the U.S. and applied for visa extensions
- Copies of all records and waivers if you have been previously removed from the U.S. or been subject to immigration proceedings
Applicants born in mainland China should get a certified copy of their birth certificate from a local notary public office. The notarized birth certificate should show the date, place of birth, and names of both parents. The certificate should state ‘unknown’ if the parents’ names are not known. Third-country nationals would need to provide an original birth certificate, a photocopy, and a certified English translation.
If an applicant has ever used a different name or alias on legal documents or for any official purpose, a certified alias certificate would need to be provided.
Form I-20 is the official U.S. Government form that certified schools issue for prospective nonimmigrant students to get an F-1 visa. The form serves as proof-of-acceptance. The information needed to apply for a visa or change visa status, pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, and be admitted into the U.S. can be found in the form. The SEVIS identification number of a student can also be found in the form.
Documentation for EB-5 Applicants
As an EB-5 applicant, you may have to provide evidence of the transfer of your investment funds to an escrow account or proof that the funds have been made available to the U.S. investment project.
Documentation for Employment Applicants
E1 and E2 employment applicants may need to provide resumes that show their educational and professional history. The documents will need to be in Chinese and English. It should list employers and job responsibilities, publications written by the applicant, travel history, and a work plan which explains where in the U.S. the applicant hopes to seek employment.
There is no guarantee that you will receive a visa after your interview. Even if the consulate plans to give you the visa, delays could occur for different reasons. Most administrative processing gets resolved within 60 days. You should wait at least 90 days after your interview before making an inquiry about the status of administrative processing.
K-1 Fiancé Visa
It can take the National Visa Center 3 – 4 weeks to send instructions about the DS-160 and to notify the U.S. consulate or embassy about the K1 petition. After this, it could take 4 -6 weeks for the U.S. embassy or consulate to schedule and facilitate interviews with applicants.
The costs for the visa may include:
- $535 for the K-1 visa petition (Form I-129F)
- $265 for U.S. State Department processing with Form DS-160
- Varied costs for medical examination
- $1,140 to obtain an Adjustment of Status form (Form I-485)
- $85 to obtain Form I-485 for biometrics
Visas for students can be provided up to 365 days in advance of the start date for a course a student is planning to study. To save time and reduce the risks of delays, it is important that students submit their visa applications and schedule interviews as soon as they receive their Form I-20.
Marriage-Based Green Cards
It can take 14 to 36 months for a marriage-based green card to be processed. This depends on where an individual lives at the time, whether they are married to a U.S. citizen or a green card holder. There may be delays which increase the amount of time one has to wait for the application to be processed.
The table below outlines the marriage green card costs:
|Fee Type||Cost (To Applicant Living in the U.S.)||Cost (To Applicant Living Abroad)|
|Family Sponsorship Form (I-130)||$535||$535|
|Green Card Application Form (I-485)||$1,140||Not required|
|Financial Support Form (I-864)||$0||$120|
|Work Permit Application Form (I-765) (optional)||$0||Not required|
|Travel Permit Application Form (I-131) (optional)||$0||Not required|
|Biometrics (Fingerprints & Photo)||$85||$0|
|State Department Processing||Not required||$325|
|USCIS Immigrant Fee||0||$220|
The medical examination usually costs $200 but the costs may vary, depending on the provider. Some customers have reported costs of $100 to $500.
What Happens If My Application is Rejected?
Denial of a visa application is not permanent. An applicant can influence the Foreign Service post to change a prior visa denial by presenting new evidence that convinces them of strong ties outside the U.S. (which shows they would leave after the visa expires) or how their circumstances have changed since the previous visa application.
What Happens After My Application is Approved?
Following the approval of a visa application to America, the immigrant visa is placed on a page in the passport of the applicant. Applicants are advised to review their visas to make sure there are not any spelling errors. Applicants may also be given an envelope with documents they need to give to U.S. immigration authorities when they get to the U.S.
The sealed envelope should not be opened. If an envelope is not given to an applicant, that means the required documents have been transmitted electronically to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The United States is a top destination for Chinese immigrants. The Chinese diaspora comprises an estimated 5.4 million people. As globalization trends continue, this figure could rise as more people look to travel between China and America.
It is critical to get the best advice to achieve success in immigrating to America from China. There are a lot of stages and documentation that need to be accounted for in the process. IAS has significant experience in helping clients through the processes required to get the approval needed to immigrate to America from China.
Moving between countries is rarely ever easy. The support of an immigration expert can make the process much easier for you by simplifying the immigration process. With IAS, successful applicants are rest assured of quality advice and service that meets their needs.
Last modified on May 31st, 2023 at 9:36 am
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To qualify for the visa waiver program, you have to meet the eligibility criteria which include being a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program country, being in possession of a machine-readable passport, and traveling for 90 days or less.
Applicants should apply in their own country of residence or nationality. It is important to consider that as a third country national living in China that is applying for a U.S. visa, you may have to show which consular district you have the strongest ties to.
If your visa is still valid, you can travel to America with your old and new passports. You should ensure that the visa is not damaged, is still valid, and is the correct type of visa needed for the purpose of travel. The name and personal data on the passports should be the same. The country and type of passports should also be the same.
You may be able to stay in America during your authorized period of stay, even if the visa expires while you are in the country. Your admission stamp or paper Form I-94 documents your authorized stay and serves as the official record of your permission to be in the U.S. If the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection Immigration Officer at the port-of-entry admitted you into the U.S. for a period of time, they document your authorized period of stay on the admission stamp or Form I-94.
You may need to get a new passport if your name has legally changed due to marriage, a court-ordered name change, or divorce. The Department of State recommends that you apply for a new U.S. visa after getting your new passport. This can make it easier to travel to and from America.