Foreign nationals who wish to marry a United States citizen may apply for a fiancé(e) visa to live with their partner in the U.S. After lawfully entering the U.S. and getting married, individuals can eventually obtain permanent residence in the country with the assistance of an attorney. Fiancé(e) visas, though, are largely misunderstood and the process can be complex. Below, our Illinois immigration lawyer explains what you need to know about permanent residence based on marriage.
If you wish to enter the United States to get married to a U.S. citizen, you may apply for a Fiancé(e) Visa also referred to as a K-1 visa. The U.S. citizen sponsor must file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Generally, the couple will be required to provide evidence of their relationship. The process can vary widely depending on the applicant’s circumstances, including immigration history and country of origin, but the average processing time for a K-1 visa is about 11 months to a year.
Once you enter the United States, you have 90 days to get married. After the marriage has taken place, you can then adjust your status and obtain a green card. This application process usually takes an additional 7 to 9 months. If you decide not to get married once you have entered the United States, you are not eligible for permanent residence status and will have to leave the country immediately. You also cannot change or adjust a K-1 visa to another type of temporary visa.
You may not be able to work when you first enter the United States on a K-1 visa. If you wish to work, you will have to request work authorization when you apply for permanent residence. Because the person you are marrying must also submit an Affidavit of Support, stating that they intend to financially support you while you are in the country. They must also show that they have an income that is at least 125% of the federal poverty guidelines.
To obtain a K-1 visa, the petitioner must be a U.S. citizen. Couples with minor children will need to complete a separate visa application for K-2 visas if eligible.
If your fiancé(e) is a legal permanent resident (LPR), you are not eligible for a K-1 visa. However, there may be other immigration options available to you, so it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney before applying.
While it is possible to obtain permanent residence based on marriage in the United States, it can be difficult to achieve. The process involves several complex steps and is, therefore, better navigated alongside a knowledgeable attorney. At Sverdloff Law Group, our Illinois immigration lawyer can guide you through the process and ensure no mistakes are made so you obtain a favorable outcome. Call us now or contact us online to schedule a consultation.