U.S. citizens who will be getting married to a foreign national in the United States may petition for a fiancé(e) classification (K-1) for their fiancé(e). You and your fiancé(e) must be free to marry. This means that both of you are unmarried, or that any previous marriages have ended through divorce, annulment or death. You must also have met with your fiancé(e) in person within the last two years before filing for the fiancé(e) visa. This requirement can be waived only if meeting your fiancé(e) in person would violate long-established customs, or if meeting your fiancé(e) would create extreme hardship for you. You and your fiancé(e) must marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the United States.
You may also apply to bring your fiancé(e)’s unmarried children, who are under age 21, to the United States
Many persons inquire as to the method of obtaining permanent residence through marriage to a US citizen. The process is one of the easiest of all the many methods of obtaining status here. Of course, all marriages must be valid, legitimate and genuine in order to qualify the alien for permanent residence.
If you are a U.S. citizen and your fiancé(e) is a non U.S. citizen foreign national and you plan to get married in the United States, then you must file a petition with USCIS for a K-1 visa on behalf of your fiancé(e).
A person on a valid tourist visa who has never been out of status in the US can apply for permanent residency if they marry a US citizen. If the person came to the US on a fiancé(e) visa or other visa or is illegally here, there may be circumstances where the process cannot take place in the US, but must occur in their home country. Assuming the process can take place in the US, an application must be submitted along with documents to prove the validity of the marriage and an interview takes place at the USCIS office. It generally takes approximately six months to obtain “conditional permanent residence”. Conditional permanent residence is granted for two years.
Attorney Fermin Valencia can advise you about the two-year conditional residence often issued to foreign national fiancé(e) or spouses. We can help you filing the petition, or a waiver of the two-year condition in the event of a divorce or other complication.
After two years from the granting of conditional permanent residence, an application for final permanent residence must be submitted, documenting that the marriage still exists.
Our immigration law practice provides legal services to individuals who are petitioning for their spouses or fiancé(e). Family unity is the cornerstone of U.S. immigration law, and we keep families together. The K-visa allows your fiancé(e) entry into the United States, but it normally leads to permanent resident status and eventual U.S citizenship.
This post is also available in Español.