Securing permanent residence through Marriage to a U.S. Citizen is a multi-step process. Some of these steps are required to be completed before your fiancé or spouse enters the US and some after entering the US. In the article U.S. citizen marrying a foreign national: Issues involved which was published in November 2005 issue of Immigration Monitor, our monthly newsletter, we covered the requirements, benefits, and application process of the K-1, fiancé visa, and K-3, spouse visa. In this article we shall cover the steps involved in getting permanent residency after entering the U.S.
Green Card process after your fiancé enters the U.S. on K-1 visa
Once your fiancé(e) is issued a K-1 visa he or she must enter the U.S. through a U.S Immigration port-of-entry. You must get married within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s entry. After the marriage takes place your spouse must file for adjustment of status using Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status with the USCIS National Benefits Center. The U.S. citizen spouse must complete and submit the Affidavit of Support, Form I-864, with the fiancé(e)’s application to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR). Since you will most likely have been married for less than two years when your spouse is granted his or her Green Card, he or she will be granted ‘conditional’ status. You and your spouse must apply together to the USCIS to remove the ‘conditions’ within the 90 days before the two year anniversary of the date your spouse was granted permanent residence.
As the K-1 visa is a single entry visa, if your spouse wants to leave and re-enter the U.S. after filing for adjustment of status, he or she must apply for advance parole on Form I-131, Application for Travel Document to the USCIS office that serves the area where you live. The Advance Parole will allow him or her to return to the U.S. after traveling.
The child of a fiancé(e) who entered the U.S. on a K-2 visa will need a separate Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status. Remember that in immigration law a child must be under the age of 21 and unmarried. The stepparent/stepchild relationship must be created before the child reaches the age of 18.
Green Card process after your spouse enters the U.S. on K-3 visa
After your spouse enters the U.S. through a U.S immigration port-of-entry on a K-3 visa, you must wait for the approval of Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, which was filed as part of the K-3 process. After the approval of the I-130, your spouse must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status, with the USCIS National Benefits Center.
As the K-3 visa is a multiple entry visa valid for 2 years, your spouse may leave and re-enter the U.S. without applying for an Advance Parole while in K-3 status.
Children needing to enter the U.S. on a K-4 visa with a parent do not need a separate Petition for Alien Relative, I-130 petitions, but you, the petitioner, must take care to name all your spouse’s children on the Petition for Alien Fiancé, I-129F petition. If you do not name the children on the petition, they may find it difficult to prove their identity as children of a K-3 applicant or person in K-3 status. You must file separate I-130 immigrant visa petitions for your stepchildren before they can qualify for permanent residence. Like the K-3 parent, when they Adjust Status in the U.S., they must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status, with the National Benefits Center.
Green Card process when your fiancé enters the U.S. on B-2, visitor visa
The Green Card process is a one-step process when your fiancé enters the U.S. on a B-2 visitor visa or other non-immigrant visa, or is already present in the U.S. as a non-immigrant. This is called ‘concurrent filing’ where you may file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status, with the USCIS National Benefits Center.
Getting permanent residence through marriage to a U.S. citizen requires a clear understanding of the various routes available to foreign national fiancés and spouses. To decide on the easiest and fastest route Consult a VisaPro attorney.
Contact VisaPro if you have any questions regarding any type of family based immigration including K-1, K-3 visas and Green Cards. Our experienced attorneys will be happy to assist you.
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