Securing a Green Card through Marriage to U.S. Citizen is a multi-step process which can be complex. Some of the steps must be completed before the foreign national fiancée or spouse enters the U.S., and some only after he or she enters the U.S.
In this article we present the steps to get permanent residency once the foreign national is already in the U.S.
Obtaining Green Card Once Your Fiancée Has Entered The U.S. On K-1 Visa
After your fiancée enters the U.S. under the K-1 Fiancée visa, you must get married within 90 days of your fiancée’s entry. Once you are married, your foreign national spouse must file for adjustment of status using Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). The U.S. citizen spouse must complete and submit the Affidavit of Support, Form I-864, with the fiancée’s application to adjust status.
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’ by filing Form I-751 within the 90 days before the two year anniversary of the date your spouse was granted permanent residence.
The child of a fiancée who entered the U.S. on a K-2 visa will need a separate Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status and I-864. Remember that a K-2 visa holder must be under the age of 21 and unmarried in order to adjust status.
Obtaining Green Card If Your Spouse Enters The U.S. On K-3 Visa
After your spouse enters the U.S. with the K-3 spouse visa, your spouse can file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status based on the previously filed and pending (or already approved) Form I-130.
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. However, once your spouse files the I-485 and the K-3 visa has expired, he or she can only travel after having received Advance Parole.
Children under 21 of a K-3 applicant who are named on the I-129F petition are eligible to receive the K-4 visa and do not need a separate Petition for Alien Relative, I-130 petition. However, in order for the child(ren) to receive legal permanent residence, an I-130 must be filed before or together with the I-485.
DID YOU KNOW
For the step-children of a US citizen to obtain legal permanent resident, the marriage must have taken place before the child was 18.
Obtaining Green Card When Your Fiancée Has Entered The U.S. On B-2 Visa
The Green Card process can be a one-step process when your fiancée has entered 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 and the Form I-485 at the same time after you and your fiancée have married. However, entry into the U.S. with the B-2 visa for the purpose of getting married and filing the “one-step” green card is strictly prohibited as entry on the B-2 visa indicates that the visa holder is visiting the U.S. for a temporary purpose and is not intending to immigrate permanently.
Before applying for Green Card through marriage to U.S. citizen, understand the various routes available to foreign national fiancée or spouse. Decide on the most appropriate and also the fastest route to secure permanent residence through marriage.
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