U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who enter into a bona fide marriage with a foreign-citizen may petition for their spouses to come to the U.S. to live. Under U.S. immigration law, a spouse is defined as a “legally wedded husband or wife.” If you are merely living with someone this will not qualify as a marriage for immigration purposes. Additionally, if you are only entering into a marriage to obtain an immigrant green card, the marriage will not be “bona fide” and will be viewed as “fraudulent.”
When polygamy is involved, only the first spouse will qualify as a spouse for immigration to the U.S. It should also be noted that in the case of same sex marriages, spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, along with their minor children, are now eligible for the same immigration rights as opposite-sex spouses. If you have concerns about how the U.S. government may view your marriage, you should contact a Baltimore fiance visa attorney at our firm to discuss your particular situation.
Foreign-citizens who marry U.S. citizens are deemed to be “immediate relatives” under U.S. immigration law. Immediate relative status provides special consideration meaning that there is no waiting list to immigrate and the U.S. government will permit the spouse to apply for an immigrant visa as soon as the Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) is approved. Lawful permanent residents may petition for a foreign spouse to immigrate to the U.S. but there will typically be a waiting period before an immigrant visa number becomes available.
The first step toward bringing your foreign spouse to the U.S. generally involves filing the Form I-130 with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once the petition is approved, your spouse will be permitted to immigrate to the U.S. If your spouse is not living in the U.S. they will immigrate through consular processing at a U.S. Consulate in his/her home country. In the event that your spouse is already in the United States under a valid status, immigration will take place by filing an application for adjustment of status to a lawful permanent resident.
U.S. citizens who are married to a foreign-citizen also have the option of obtaining a non-immigrant K-3 visa which will permit the foreign spouse to enter the U.S. while awaiting approval of an immigrant visa petition. Once the immigrant visa petition is approved, the foreign spouse may apply for adjustment of status to a lawful permanent resident. If you are considering applying for a K-3 non-immigrant visa there are special requirements associated with this visa category and you should consult a skilled Baltimore fiance visa attorney at our immigration law firm to learn more about the process.
U.S. citizens who are engaged to foreign-citizens may bring a fiancé(e) to the United States to marry and live here through the K-1 visa category. Under a K-1 visa, the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) is permitted to travel to the United States to marry his/her U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival in the country. There are special considerations and requirements associated with the K-1 visa and the subsequent application for adjustment of status to a lawful permanent resident. You can learn more about fiancé(e) visas in the Engaged Couples (K-1 visa) section of our website or by contacting our firm to discuss your situation with a Baltimore fiance visa attorney.