1. On what visa can I enter the U.S. to marry a U.S. citizen?
To enter into the U.S. to marry a U.S. citizen you need a K-1 fiance visa. Your U.S. citizen fiance must file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Service Center with jurisdiction over their residence. Once the petition is approved, the USCIS will forward the approved petition, through the National Visa Center, to a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country which will schedule an interview for a fiancé visa.
2. Will my K-1 status automatically change to permanent resident status after I marry my U.S. citizen fiance?
No, your K-1 status does not automatically change to legal permanent resident after your marriage with your U.S. citizen fiance. you need to file for Adjustment of Status to become a legal permanent resident after you marry your U.S. citizen fiance.
3. Can I apply for legal permanent resident status before marrying my U.S. citizen fiance?
No, you may not apply for a Green Card before marrying your U.S. citizen fiance. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) needs proof of your marriage when you file for a Green Card.
Note: Your permanent resident status is based on your marriage to your U.S. citizen fiance.
4. How can I stay in the U.S. and await my Green Card after marrying my permanent resident fiance?
You may stay in the U.S. while awaiting your green Card after marrying your permanent resident fiance only if you have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid throughout the waiting period.
5. What is the processing time for a marriage to U.S. citizen based Green Card?
The processing time for a marriage based Green Card varies depending on the Service Center where your petition has been filed. The process may take up to 12-18 months.
6. Do I have to give up my passport after I get my marriage to U.S. citizen based Green Card?
No, you do not have to give up your passport on becoming a legal permanent resident. Your nationality doesn’t change on getting a Green Card. You may apply to become a U.S. citizen after having a Green Card and being married to a U.S. citizen for three years.
7. Is my U.S. citizen spouse required to attend the interview for my marriage based Green Card?
Yes, both you and your U.S. citizen spouse will be interviewed before you get your Green Card if you applied for Adjustment of Status. In the case of Consular Processing your U.S. citizen spouse is not required to attend the interview.
Note: The purpose of the interview is to determine that the marriage was entered into in good faith and that all USCIS Forms have been correctly completed.
8. What is the processing time for a Work Permit after I file my marriage to U.S. citizen based Green Card application?
The processing time for a Work Permit varies depending on the work load of the Service Center where your petition has been filed. The process usually takes 60 to 120 days after the petition is filed.
9. Do I get my Green Card after my interview for permanent residence based on marriage to a U.S. citizen?
Yes, as long as all the supporting documents are submitted and the background checks are completed, your passport may be stamped as proof of permanent residency for travel, work, etc. The actual laminated permanent resident card (Green Card) will be issued separately later, however, your permanent resident status starts as of the original approval date.
10. Are marriage to U.S. citizen based Green Cards only temporary?
Yes, marriage to U.S. citizen based Green Cards are temporary in nature. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants Conditional Permanent Residency for two years, after which you need to file for Removal of Conditions to get a permanent Green Card. The USCIS does a second check on the marriage after two years because marriage is a relatively easy route to get permanent residency in the U.S.
Note: If you have already been married for two years when you apply for a marriage to U.S. citizen based Green Card the USCIS will grant you a permanent Green Card.
11. Who is eligible to apply for Removal of Conditions on permanent residence?
You may apply to remove your conditions on permanent residence if you:
- Are still married to the same U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident after two years (your children may be included in your application if they got their conditional resident status at the same time that you did or within 90 days)
- Are a child and cannot be included in the application of your parents for a valid reason
- Are a widow or widower of a marriage that was entered into in good faith
- Entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage was ended through divorce or annulment
- Entered into a marriage in good faith, but either you or your child were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident spouse
- Would be subject to extreme hardship on the termination of your conditional resident status