Marrying A U.S. Citizen To Enter The Country
Most people believe that marriage to an American makes it very easy to obtain a green card to live and work legally in the United States. A husband or wife of a U.S. citizen qualifies to immigrate as an immediate family member. There are no limits on the number of immigrant visas issued for spouses of U.S. citizens (IR-1 or CR1) by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services each year.
Marriage To An American After Arriving In The United States On A Fiancé Visa
It is also true that timing and location are important if you want your immigration process to go smoothly after marriage to an American. In order to immigrate before a marriage takes place, you can apply for a fiancé visa. The wedding must take place within 90 days after you arrive in the United States on a K-1 fiancé visa. You can then apply for adjustment of status and obtain a green card if all criteria are met.
Arriving In The United States After Marriage To An American Abroad
If your marriage has already taken place before you come to the United States, you will need to apply for a “nonimmigrant visa for spouse” (K-3) through the U.S. consulate in the country where the marriage took place. An alternative is to apply for an immigrant visa.
Married To An American While In The U.S. On Another Type Of Visa?
What if your situation is different from the scenarios above? For example, what if you were in the United States on a student visa or a work visa and then met and married an American while here? In this case, you will need to file to adjust your status to lawful permanent resident.
Beware Of Mistakes That Could Harm Your Application For A Green Card On The Basis Of Marriage To An American
Although marriage to an American makes you an immediate relative of a citizen — a great advantage for immigration purposes — the rules for obtaining a green card can be complex. It is easy to make a mistake. “Checking the wrong box” on an application or submitting the wrong forms can delay or ruin your case. To ensure that your application has the greatest chances of success, Miley & Brown, P.C., encourages you to work with an experienced immigration lawyer.