Alternatively, they may petition the U.S. government to allow their spouse to join them in the U.S. solely for marriage. The only difference between a religious marriage and a civil marriage is personal preference. Some people just want to get the legal stuff done so that they can file immigration papers. Others want to celebrate the event with friends and family. Some people choose to have a quiet civil ceremony to be able to begin the immigration process, and then have the larger religious or social event later. Either marriage is legal for visa and immigration purposes.

  • Getting a green card through marrying a U.S. citizen can give you some sense of security and permanence.
  • After obtaining his 10-year permanent residency, Francisco was feeling pretty confident about traveling and didn’t seem too interested in becoming a citizen.
  • Supreme Court overturned a piece of federal law called the Defense of Marriage Act , same-sex marriages are treated like any other marriage for federal immigration law purposes.
  • If you are a U.S. citizen, you may bring your fiancé to the United States tomarryand live here, with a nonimmigrant visa for a fiancé (K-1).
  • It is recommended to get a consultation from an immigration attorney before filing for divorce.

Whether you have legal immigration status doesn’t guarantee citizenship to your partner. But they may be granted U.S. citizenship if they follow the legal processes. The immigrant might be refused entry if they are inadmissible. This could be due to criminal history, immigration violation records, marriage fraud, and underlying medical problems. However, before you file for a K-1 visa, you and your spouse must have seen each other in person within the previous two years. Additionally, your spouse needs to marry you and apply to adjust their status within 90 days of entering the United States.

Hyphenated Last Names 101 Learn all about having two last names after marriage. We have gathered some of the most frequent questions and have provided helpful answers below. The application page may answer more of your questions. In most cases, the officials would like to determine whether the visitors have intentions of leaving the country before the expiry of their visa.

Only U.S. citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents can obtain permanent residence or green cards for their spouses. People with temporary rights to live in the United States cannot petition for their spouse to become a permanent resident, though they might be able to bring them to the U.S. on a short-term visa. If you are a non-citizen, are legally in the U.S. and are already married to a U.S. citizen, you are generally eligible to apply for Adjustment of Status. In other words, you can apply for a “green card” inside the U.S. and may not need to go to a U.S. consulate abroad to obtain an immigrant visa.

What Are the Consequences of Marrying a Foreigner?

Unlike some types of attorneys, immigration attorneys often charge flat fees for basic services such as assistance with obtaining a marriage-based green card. That means you won’t have to worry that the hours will tick by and you’ll end up paying a million dollars in legal fees. There, as punishment for any time over six months spent in the U.S. unlawfully, the spouse can be barred from return for three or ten years. Depending on the country you are marrying from, you may need to take medical and blood tests and seek parental consent. If the country doesn’t use your language as the official language, you may need to translate the documents into their official language. Suppose you are a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident of the States and want to marry internationally. In that case, you should also ensure that the United States will recognize your marriage as valid when you return.

Contrast that with the situation faced by spouses of lawful permanent residents. They are able to start the immigration process as soon they’re married, by filing USCIS Form I-130, but that typically only puts the foreign-born spouse on a waiting list.

Immigration Through Marriage to a U.S. Citizen

You will need to provide proof of citizenship, pay fees, and prove income to sponsor a person in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website to learn more about the current requirements for a fiance visa. Supreme Court reversed a part of a federal law called the Defense of Marriage Act stating that same-sex marriages are legally recognized. Now, the U.S. government treats this type of marriage as any other marriage for federal immigration law purposes. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services takes intentions to immigrate to the United States on the grounds of marriage fraud very seriously. If USCIS officers suspect you are not legally married, they may ask you to prove that your marriage is bona fides and formed from a genuine relationship.

In the United States, each of the 50 states establishes its own marriage rules. For example, in some states you must be 18 years of age to marry, while in others you can marry younger if you can have the consent of your parents. If you and your spouse are related by blood, you will also need to do some research.

Can I Marry My Gay or Lesbian Partner (of the Same-Sex)?

If you and your future spouse are both living in the United States, chances are they are on a temporary U.S. work or visitor visa. Understanding the marriage-based green card timeline starts with understanding your case. Many factors go into what you can expect in terms of waiting times. The best thing to do is to have an immigration attorney review your case and advise you on more accurate processing times. For the marriage-based green card interview, it’s important to be honest. You may be tempted to make up an answer if you do not know. However, telling the officer you are unsure of the answer is always better than lying.