Being married to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident offers foreign nationals direct access to US immigration. However, contrary to what many believe, it does not automatically confer any immigration benefit on the individual. If the foreign national will benefit from the US immigration sector, they must apply, which includes having an interview.
Also, being married to a US citizen does not automatically make you a citizen of the United States.
For the US citizen, their spouse is referred to as an immediate relative and given preference. That means such may obtain a green card as soon as the couple completes the application process.
On the other hand, the spouse of the lawful permanent resident is called a preference relative. Such can only receive a green card or spousal visa when a visa becomes available – known as priority date.
The Process Involved in Obtaining a Marriage Green Card in Miami
Multiple steps are involved in the application process for a marriage-based green card in Miami and the US generally. The process generally starts with the US citizen or permanent resident spouse petitioning the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The couple will fill out and submit certain application forms and the accompanying documents as requested by the National Visa Center. Once the USCIS and NVC approve the application, an interview with an immigration officer is set.
These forms, documents, and interviews have a purpose, the biggest of which is establishing that the couple has a valid relationship. To put it more precisely, the forms are proposed to prove the status of the petitioner. In other words, it shows whether the petitioner is a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder). They also prove that a valid marriage has occurred with the US petitioner and their alien spouse.
Additionally, the forms, documents, and interviews serve to prove that the marriage is bona fide and not a sham. Also, it establishes the fact that the alien spouse is not inadmissible into the United States for certain reasons. Meanwhile, how you apply for the marriage green card depends on a number of factors, including where the alien spouse lives.
The Process for Obtaining K-1 Fiancé Visa
If you are not married to your US citizen partner yet, the appropriate immigration benefit to apply for is the K-1 visa. The K-1 or fiancé visa is a temporary ninety-day visa with which a foreign fiancé can enter the US.
There are conditions to this visa; for instance, the couple must get married within ninety days after the alien spouse enters the US. Like with the marriage green card, the US citizen will start this process by filing Form I-129F with the USCIS.
Once the USCIS approves the application, it will transfer the case to the US consulate in the foreign spouse’s home country. It is through the US consulate or embassy the alien fiancé will apply for a K-1 fiancé visa.
This application process involves submitting certain forms and documents and, finally, attending a visa interview with a consular officer. The US petitioner can also attend this interview, but it is not compulsory – or required.
Once the US citizen and foreign national get married, the latter can now apply for a marriage green card with the USCIS. They will apply through a process called Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) to obtain a marriage-based green card.
This process also starts with filling out forms and submitting the required supporting documents. The final stage is the green card interview, which both the foreign national spouse and their citizen spouse will attend.
Who Petitions the USCIS for the Marriage Green Card and Fiancé Visa?
The United States citizen and lawful permanent resident are responsible for petitioning the USCIS for this marriage green card. They will open the application process by petitioning the USCIS, to which the latter will respond if a visa is available.
While a visa is always available to the US citizen, the lawful permanent resident may have to wait for years. This is because the USCIS has a set number of immigrant visas it gives out annually. On the other hand, only the US citizen can petition for the K-1 fiancé visa; a green card holder cannot.
Seeking Legal Assistance from Herman Legal Group
It can be confusing to know what immigration forms apply to you – or which visa you are eligible for. Herman Legal Group is a top-notch law firm with years of experience in all things US immigration. We have helped bring families together and reunite couples by helping them through their green card application process. By working with our team of committed lawyers, you will understand your options better and have a smoother application experience.
Our offices are scattered across the United States, including Miami, although we are based in Ohio. Meanwhile, we also serve many people from outside the US; our lawyers are fluent in up to nine languages. You can book a consultation online with us or call us directly at +1-216-696-6170.
It is a beautiful thing when you can be with your loved one(s), but the USCIS’s long immigration application process won’t allow it. Thankfully, there are other visas you can apply for while you wait for your marriage green card, including a tourist visa.