Every year more than 400.000 US citizens petition for their non-US citizen partners to obtain a green card for the US. The process of application for a marriage based green card is usually much faster than for other types of green cards, since they are exempt from the quota limitations.
The applicants have to supply evidence that they are legally married to a U.S. citizen. Certified copies of marriage licenses or certificates are often a necessary component of this requirement, as is a proof of termination of any previous marriage.
Demonstrating that you are married is straightforward: (please note that there are a myriad of additional documents that must be submitted with a green card application in addition to a certified copy of the marriage certificate).
The couple must be legally married. Marriages are acknowledged as long as they are legal in the place where they were made. Neither partner can be married to someone else at the same time.
The two most common scenarios on the path to a green card:
K-1 Fiancee Visa – for couples not yet married
The K-1 Fiancee Visa is for those foreign nationals, who are not yet married to a US citizen, but intend to do so and remain permanently in the United States. This visa is only given to fiancées of US citizens, not to fiancées of green card holders. For the K-1 Visa, proof of the relationship and engagement have to be provided.
After entering the US on a K-1 fiancee visa, the marriage must take place within 90 days. After the marriage has been made legal, the holder of the K-1 visa has to apply for a change of status to obtain a green card.
K-3 Family Visa – for couples already married outside the US
Immigrants who are already legally married to a US immigrant can enter the US on a K-3 family visa. The K-3 visa was originally designed by the congress to bridge the long wait for an immigrant visa.
There are a number of factors to consider when applying for a fiancee visa, marriage visa or marriage based green card. For further details on the matter, please refer to our Marriage Based Green Card page. Before you take any further actions, it is best to consult an experienced immigration attorney to help you make the right decisions. Contact us at (916) 613-3553 to schedule a consultation at our Sacramento or Sante Clara office.