New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

How To Bring Your Fiance To The United States: Green Card Through Marriage

Author: Green Card Lawyer Alena Shautsova

Often, US Citizens would like to get married to a person from overseas, and then they face a question of how to bring the non-U.S. citizen to the United States.

Generally speaking, it can be accomplished via these options:

Fiance K-1 Visa

This visa is suitable for those couples that are not sure if they actually would like to get married. It gives the foreign person an opportunity to come to the U.S. and stay here up to 90 days. The K-1 visa obligates its holder to either marry the person who invited them or leave the country. The K-1 visa holder cannot marry a different person other than the one who filed the underlying petition. A K-1 visa holder who overstays the visa, and does not get married with the person invited them, cannot adjust status or change status in the U.S. Pluses of this visa: K-1 option might be good for unsure couples to test the grounds without further obligations. Negatives: In the end, it would be as expensive and will take as much time as an immigrant visa, and if the couple does get married, they would have to pay fees and submit confirming documents second time around. The conditions and necessary filing instructions can be found on USCIS website.

Already Married

If you are already married with the non- U.S. citizen, you basically have two choices. One is to file for and wait for an Immigrant visa. An immigrant visa will allow the non-citizen to enter the U.S. as a green card holder. If the marriage is less than two years old at the time of the adjudication of the petitions, the non-citizen will be granted a conditional green card; if the marriage is older than two years, the green card will be a permanent ten -year card. Why do we like it? Because all the documents essentially will be filed once, compared to other routes and the non-citizen will be able to get admitted to the U.S. in a permanent resident status. Why do we not like this? Because of the notorious delays. It does not happen often, but when it does, the non-citizen gets “stuck” overseas. Delays, however, may happen with any kind of visa application.

K-3 Visa for Spouses

The third option is to bring your spouse on a K-3 visa for spouses. It is a non- immigrant visa that is issued specifically for spouses of the U.S. citizens and gives them an opportunity to come to the US faster than on immigrant visa. In reality, however, this visa takes a long time to get as well, which often defeats its purpose.

30 March 2013
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