Marriage Green Card vs. Fiancé Process

When a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident decides to marry a foreign national, some other decisions must be made too. A major decision is where the parties will be married. Will the marriage take place in the United States or in the home country of the foreign national? If they intend on getting married in the United States, the foreign national is going to need a K-1 non-immigrant fiancé visa. Additional immigration documents must be filed after the marriage takes place. If the parties are going to get married in the home country of the foreign national, the foreigner will be needing a K-3, IR-1 or CR-1 spousal visa. In all likelihood, it will be an IR-1 or CR-1. The petition for these visas must be filed and the visas must be issued in the country in which the marriage occurred. In any case, the Bakersfield, immigration attorneys at Maison Law Immigration Lawyer can be of great help to you and your foreign fiancé or spouse.

Travel to the United States

Upon issuance of their K-1 visa, the foreign fiancé can travel to the United States. He or she then has 90 days from their date of entry to get married. After the marriage, the foreign spouse can apply for lawful permanent residence. In the unlikely event of a failure to get married within that 90-day period will cause the visa to lapse. If you’re married outside of the requisite time period, the new spouse might still be eligible for adjustment of status. You’ll need to consult with us on that issue as soon as you can. If you were married outside of the United States, a Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative must be filed and approved. Upon interviewing and approval of the petition, the foreign spouse will receive his or her visa and be allowed to enter the United States. Lawful permanent residence is already granted.

Where to Get Married?

Where you will get married is a personal decision between you and your future spouse. If your visa is a fiancée visa though, the only choice is to get married in the United States. As the fiancé visa petitioner is a United States citizen, getting married in the United States might be the best decision as the parties can remain together through the process of the foreign spouse’s petition for permanent residence. For purposes of a shorter period of separation from each other, the K-1 visa decreases that time significantly. The parties can always get married in the United States and have a reception in the new spouse’s nation of birth.

Circumventing the K-3 Visa

At this point in time, less than a handful of K-3 visas are issued. That’s because IR-1/CR-1 visas are routinely issued instead. If the Form I-130 is approved, the appropriate visa can issue anyway. We can explain this further in a personal consultation.

You’re going to have questions about K-1, K-3, IR-1 or CR-1 visas, so contact us for a consultation at your earliest convenience. We want your fiancé, husband or wife here with you in the United States as soon as possible. Here at Maison Law Immigration Lawyers, we’re mindful of how immigrants built this country, and we look forward to you and your family building it even better than it already is.