Whether your lawful permanent residence in the United States is based on already being married in another country or getting married in the United States might be a matter of preference. If you and your husband or wife were already married in another country, and you’re already in the U.S., a marriage-based green must be issued before your spouse will be allowed to enter the U.S.
The Fiancé Visa and the Green Card
If you’re engaged to be married, and your future spouse is a U.S. citizen, you’ll be able to enter the U.S. on what’s known as a nonimmigrant K-1 Visa. On the average, the K-1 process takes about six months, not including the time that the foreign national is waiting for their visa interview. Upon issuance, this visa is valid for six months, but you must get married within 90 days of entering the United States. Once you become married, the foreign spouse becomes eligible for lawful permanent residence. He or she will be required to file an application for adjustment of status for permanent residency. That process could take one to two years, but in the interim, the husband or wife is in the United States legally.
The Marriage Visa and the Green Card
In a marriage-based green card situation, the parties are already married, but one of them is a foreign national who resides outside of the United States. As opposed to applying for a K-1 visa, the party living in the United States can either be a lawful permanent resident or a U.S. citizen. He or she can bring their husband or wife to the U.S. by filing a Form I-130 Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative on behalf of their foreign national spouse. Upon approval, the foreign spouse who has been waiting in their own country can then apply for their immigrant visa to enter the United States.
Given the processes involved in the K-1 Visa and the Alien Relative Visa, the K-1 visa is generally the faster way of the two for purposes of obtaining entry into the United States. For purposes of obtaining lawful permanent residence in the U.S., the marriage-based petition is probably faster. Whether you’re seeking marriage based permanent residence or a K-1 visa, the advantages of representation of Maison Law Immigration Lawyers will drastically reduce the chances of any delays. Feel free to contact us with any questions or issues that you might have.