Fiancé Visa or Marriage-Based Green Card
The good news is you have just gotten engaged. The bad news is you or your partner is not a U.S. citizen and you want to start building your life together in the United States. Using our Virginia immigration attorney could make the process of immigration for your fiancé much easier. We can help you to avoid common immigration pitfalls and ensure all of your paperwork is in proper order before submitting it. We call also help you determine if you should get married before coming to the United States.
What is a Fiancé Visa?
Like all other United States visas, a fiancé visa or K-1 visa is issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The couple applying for a fiancé visa generally must show that they have seen each other within the previous two years and that there is a true relationship between them. Once the fiancé visa has been granted, the couple must marry within 90 days of the noncitizen’s entry to the United States. The K-1 visa is not available to those who are already married.
Differences Between Fiancé Visa and a Marriage Green Card
Fiancés of U.S. citizens generally have two pathways for immigrating to the USA:
- The foreign partner could come to the U.S. on a K-1 fiancé visa, and then get married in the United States.
- The couple could get married outside the United States first and then the citizen spouse could sponsor the foreign spouse for a green card using an I-130 petition. This process may be referred to as the “IR1 / CR1 process”.
Each of the above methods has advantages and disadvantages. Before deciding which one is right for you, it is a good idea to contact an experienced Blacksburg immigration lawyer for help and advice.
Things to consider when before deciding which method is right for you:
- When do you want to hold your wedding?
- Where do you want the wedding to take place?
- Are there any religious or cultural considerations that may impact the decision?
- How long does it take for each method?
The following comparison may help answer some of those questions.
Fiancé Visa Eligibility
The K-1 fiancé visa is available to fiancés of U.S. citizens living in other countries who intend to get married within 90 days of arriving in the United States. The K-1 fiancé visa requirements are:
- Both parties must be single and eligible to be married under U.S. law.
- Same-sex couples are eligible for a K-1 visa providing they meet all of the other criteria.
- If either party has been previously married they would need to show proof of a divorce or a death certificate for their former spouse.
- The sponsoring party must be a U.S. citizen. Green Card holders are not eligible.
- You must prove that you have a true relationship with photos, correspondence, and written statements from people who know you as a couple.
- It helps to have already arranged wedding plans in the US so that you can show invitations, venue reservations, or other proof that the wedding will take place. However, you can provide a signed statement that you intend to marry within 90 days of arrival.
- You must have met in person at least once in the past two years, but this requirement can be waived for religious reasons or in certain other cases.
- The party who is a U.S. citizen must meet certain income requirements.
Eligibility for Marriage-Based Green Card
A green card based on marriage is available to foreign spouses of US citizens and current Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders) in the United States. A Virginia immigration attorney can help you with your forms and documents to ensure it is correctly prepared and filed. You will use the I-130 family petition form and several other immigration forms required to be submitted with it.
To qualify for a marriage-based green card:
- You show that you have a valid marriage. Usually, this is done by showing a valid marriage certificate from the country where you were married. It must show both or your names, the place and the date of the marriage.
- If you have been previously married, you will need to proof of divorce or a death certificate for your former spouse.
- You may be asked to show proof that the marriage is not fraudulent. Leases, land deeds, banking records, photos, and other proof may be required.
- The petitioning spouse will need to show that