If you are the fiancé of a U.S. citizen, you can apply for a visa in order to travel to the U.S. and perform your marriage ceremony. After your 90-day fiancée visa expires and you are married to a U.S. citizen, you can apply for a change of status to become a permanent resident with a green card.
The application process has a few steps you can follow below:
1. The U.S. citizen partner should file a petition for fiancée non-immigrant. This form has a filing fee of $340 and will require you to submit documentation of your relationship with your partner, documentation of the petitioner’s citizenship status, family-based immigration forms, biographic information, and any past immigration history. Applicants who have petitioned for 2 or more K-1 visas in the past must file for a waiver in order to be eligible to apply for any additional fiancé visas. You should file this form with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services lockbox in Dallas. Take care to address your application, completely fully and correctly, to the correct location. The fiancé visa application cannot be processed at local USCIS offices abroad or in the U.S. Failure to submit your petition to the correct destination may result in a long delay in your review process.
2. After your fiancé visa is approved, travel to the U.S. and perform your marriage ceremony as soon as possible to avoid violating any immigration laws. Your fiancé visa is only active for a duration of 90 days. After this period the visa will expire and you will be required to depart the U.S. if you are still unmarried. If you remain present in the U.S. on an expired visa you may prompt removal or deportation proceedings which can negatively affect your chances to immigrate in the future.
3. After travelling to the U.S., the immigrant party is eligible to apply for employment authorization. The citizen partner does not need to petition for employment authorization on behalf of the immigrant. If you have K-1 non-immigrant status and want to work, you can file this form with USCIS. There is a filing fee of $380.
4. After you and your spouse are married, the immigrant spouse can file for a change of status to conditional permanent resident. In order to be granted resident status there must be a visa readily available to you. At first, your green card will be on a conditional basis, which means it does have an expiration date. You should file separately for your immigrant children. Each application for change of status has a filing fee of $985. After your petition for residence in approved, you can live legally in the U.S.
5. You can file a waiver to have the conditions taken off of your green card and have your permanent resident status instated. If you do not choose to waive the conditions to your residence, it may expire or be limited. While living on a conditional green card, you should look into immigration law to ensure you do not violate the conditions of your residence. Any conditional resident children can be included on the main applicant’s waiver for unconditional residence.
For more information and help with getting a visa or green card, contact immigration attorney Phillip Kim.