Which is the Best Way to Get a Marriage-Based Green Card?
When a U.S. citizen marries a foreign citizen, there are fundamentally two different ways for the foreign citizen to immigrate to the United States and obtain a green card. The choice — a fiancé visa or marriage visa — can cause confusion for many couples. Each has its own benefits. So what’s best for one couple may not be ideal for another couple’s situation. In making your decision, you’ll need to consider speed of the process, cost, as well as other factors.
The fiancé visa (aka K-1 visa) is a nonimmigrant visa obtained by the foreign fiancé to travel to the U.S. for the purpose of getting married in the U.S. and then adjusting status to a permanent resident (green card holder).
The marriage visa (aka CR-1 or IR-1 visa) is an immigrant visa obtained by the foreign spouse while in the foreign country after marriage for the purpose of immigrating to the U.S. to live permanently with the spouse.
Deciding on the fiancé visa or marriage visa is a personal decision. So, the best path for you depends on your specific situation. However, for many couples, the speed of the immigration process is an important factor. Continue reading
The K-1 visa is for the fiancé of a U.S. citizen to come to the United States for the purpose of marriage. If you entered the U.S. on a K-1 visa, you have 90 days to marry the U.S. citizen from the date of entry. A K-1 visa does not allow the foreign national to stay in the United States for more than 90 days – it can’t be extended. Once married, the foreign national has the option of staying in the United States if he or she files an application for adjustment of status through a K-1 visa entry.
Adjustment of status to permanent resident is an exclusive process to apply for a green card reserved for certain intending immigrants that are physically present in the United States. A K-1 visa holder who has married his or her U.S. citizen fiancé is generally eligible. Continue reading
The K3 visa process was designed to help shorten the physical separation between a foreign citizen and his or her U.S. citizen spouse. It’s the perfect solution for many couples that want to move to the United States together without an extended separation associated with the immigration process. In practice, the K3 visa process is rarely used. While it remains a component of immigration law, most couples have a tough time obtaining one.
Even many immigration lawyers consider Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, to be one of the most confusing immigration forms. It’s a little like combining the financials of a tax return with the complexity of an immigration form. In fact, that’s basically what it is. The stakes are high. If the sponsor does not qualify, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not issue the intending immigrant permanent residence (green card).
When a foreign national applies for permanent residence in the United States, immigration officials are obligated in most cases to make sure that the intending immigrant has adequate means of financial support and is not likely to become a public charge. USCIS requires Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, for most family-based applications and some employment-based applications. It’s a contract between a sponsor and the U.S. government, in which the sponsor promises to support the intending immigrant if he or she is unable to do so on their own. It’s a back-up plan in case the immigrant has financial problems. Continue reading
An interview is an essential part of obtaining virtually any nonimmigrant visa for entry to the United States. But K-1 fiancé visa interview questions dive deeper into your history and intentions. They can even seem a little personal. And that’s a little scary.
It’s natural to be anxious about your K-1 interview. If you are prepared and know your fiancé well, you’ll find that the fiancé visa interview questions are actually very simple to answer. The K-1 questions will focus on your relationship with the U.S. citizen fiancé, but there’s no reason to fear the interview if you have a genuine relationship. Continue reading
The questions vary from, “Can I stay in the U.S. after a visa overstay and marriage to a U.S. citizen?” to “What happens if my visa expires and I’m married?” These questions are concerned with obtaining a legal status in the United States despite a period of unlawful presence.
Spouses of U.S. citizens do have special privileges in immigration and benefit from certain provisions in the law that are beneficial in cases where the intending immigrant has overstayed a visa. But it’s important to get a picture of the entire landscape.
By itself, marriage after a visa overstay does not solve the immigration problem. It can put the immigrant in a position to return to a lawful immigration status. As the spouse of a U.S. citizen, the immigrant can generally become a permanent resident (green card holder). Continue reading
An applicant for a family-based green card will need a financial sponsor in the United States before immigrating. Although some new green card holders may be able to find employment immediately and support themselves, the financial sponsor is necessary in case things don’t go as planned.
In fact, every person who immigrates based on a relative petition must have a financial sponsor. So whoever files Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of a family member (or Form I-129F on behalf of a fiancé) must also agree to be the financial sponsor and file an affidavit of support when the time comes for the person to actually immigrate to the United States. Continue reading
For immigrants arriving to the United States, the American tax system can be a very new and confusing concept. In fact, the tax system in the U.S. is so complex that most natural-born Americans have difficulty filing each year.
In the U.S., everyone with income above certain levels is expected to file a tax return. That’s not true in all countries around the world. In many countries, the government withholds taxes from paychecks, and the individual never has to directly file an income tax return. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the U.S. agency responsible for collecting taxes.
Whether you are a lawful permanent resident or an undocumented immigrant, it’s important that you get a basic understanding of your tax obligations and the consequences of where you pay taxes. Continue reading
Over the last several years, LGBT immigration rights in the United States have changed significantly. A progressive cultural environment and several court cases have helped to equalize treatment of same-sex marriage in the U.S. immigration system.
While the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities continue to be persecuted throughout much of the world, LGBT immigration rights have blossomed in the United States. Continue reading