Spouses and Fiancées (and Fiancés) of United States Citizens
A United States citizen may petition to confer immigration status to an alien spouse or fiancé(e). As immediate relatives, the spouse of a United States citizen is eligible for lawful permanent resident status without regard to visa limitations. Similarly, temporary visa options are available to the spouse or fiancé(e) of a United States citizen (K-1 and K-3 visas).
Lawful Permanent Resident Status Through Marriage
A United States citizen begins the process of petitioning for an alien spouse by filing Form I-130 with USCIS. The petition must establish the basic requirement that the marriage is bona fide and in good faith. A good faith marriage is typified by objective activities normal of a married couple - namely cohabitation and commingling of financial assets. The conduct of the couple helps to establish the marriage is bona fide.
The alien spouse may apply for a visa or status by visiting a United States consular abroad or after an interview with USCIS (adjustment of status).
Conditional Resident Status
If a marriage is less than two years old on the date the marriage based lawful permanent resident status is issued, the alien spouse will be issued conditional resident status. Ninety days before the second anniversary of the issuance of conditional resident status, the couple must file for removal of conditional resident status. Failure to do so may result in termination of lawful permanent resident status.
K-3 Visa - Temporary Status for Married Couples
Often the processing times for marriage based immediate relative petitions can be lengthy. In an effort to unite married couples, a nonimmigrant or temporary visa exists to allow the alien spouse temporary status in the United Status until such time the immediate relative petition is processed.
K-1 Visa - Temporary Status for Fiancé(e)s of United States Citizens
A nonimmigrant (temporary) visa exists for fiancées and fiancés of United States citizens. The K-1 visa allows fiancé(e)s of United States citizens to temporarily enter the United States for purposes of marrying. The couple must marry within 90 days of entry.
What Option is Better - Marriage Based or Fiancée Based
The Chander Law Firm rarely advises clients that one option is better than another. Rather, we advise our clients that in matters of domestic relations, couples should make the decision of when and where to marry without regard to immigration status. The law firm can advise you best as to your options once you know what your domestic timeline will be.
Importance of Hiring an Immigration Lawyer from the Start
Increased enforcement and random investigation of family-sponsored immigration petitions can subject even the most straight forward cases to heightened scrutiny. Hiring a lawyer to represent you before you start the immigration process can save costs, prevent unforeseen difficulties, and avoid eventual heartache. Denial of your case may bar future immigration status without years of expensive legal proceedings.
Questions - Call The Chander Law Firm
If you have questions regarding family-sponsored immigration, don't wait until it's too late. Contact The Chander Law Firm today.
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