Long-distance relationships can be difficult to maintain under any circumstances. If you are married or are planning to marry a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, a marriage or fiancé visa can put you both on American soil.
Fiancé visas allow you to enter the United States more quickly, but a marriage visa gets you a green card more quickly. Deciding which visa works better for you will depend upon your unique circumstances. Luckily, you do not need to navigate these legal challenges on your own.
Attorney Ejaz A. Sabir from Sabir Law Group has been helping clients from Upper Darby, Pennsylvania and throughout greater Philadelphia explore their marriage and fiancé visa options to help them decide which avenue is best for them to pursue.
As an immigrant who speaks six different languages and went through the process of becoming a naturalized citizen himself, attorney Sabir understands how confusing the visa process can be. That’s why he is proud to offer his extensive legal knowledge and experience to help others facing similar circumstances navigate the complexities of the visa process so that they can move forward. Call or reach out to the Sabir Law Group today to schedule your own personal consultation.
Those married to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents may apply for a marriage visa. A marriage visa is an immigrant visa that gives you permanent residency in the U.S. when you enter the country.
To obtain a marriage visa, you must be legally married to a U.S. citizen or green cardholder. The marriage must be legitimate and not for the benefit of garnering permanent residency. You and your spouse can be married to no one except one another.
The fiancé visa, also known as a K-1 non-immigrant visa, is for those who want to enter the country to marry a U.S. citizen within 90 days of entering. These visas are not granted to fiancés of legal permanent residents, but rather only those of U.S. citizens.
As with the marriage visa, your intended marriage must be legitimate, and you and your intended spouse must both be eligible to marry one another. You must have met with your intended spouse in person within the past two years prior to applying for the visa.
U.S. citizens may be eligible to bring their fiancé to the country via a fiancé visa if they meet the following requirements:
You and your fiancé intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé’s admission to the U.S. on a K-1 non-immigrant visa. This 90-day window is a firm requirement.
You and your fiancé are legally free to marry one another. Any other marriage must have been legally terminated by death, divorce, or annulment.
You met one another in person at least once during the last two years prior to filing the K-1 visa application. This requirement can only be waived if you can demonstrate such a meeting violates customs of your fiancé’s culture or social norms, or if you can document that such an in-person meeting would have resulted in extreme hardship to you as the U.S. petitioner.
U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents may apply for a marriage green card if they meet the following requirements:
You are legally married, evidenced by a valid certificate of marriage.
You can prove, usually by providing a divorce decree or death certificate, that any previous marriage no longer exists.
You can provide proof that your marriage is not fraudulent as evidenced by joint bank accounts, rental leases signed by both of you, photos of you together, and witnesses who can attest to the validity of your marriage.
As the U.S. spouse, you must earn at least 125% of U.S. poverty guidelines. For 2021, that would be at least $21,595 for a household of two consisting of you and your spouse.
Your principal residence is in the U.S.
The basic steps in the fiancé visa process include:
The U.S. citizen’s submission of Form I-29F, Petition for Alien Fiancé, supporting documentation and fees to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
If approved, USCIS will forward the application to the U.S Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC).
The NVC will forward it to the U.S. embassy or consulate where your fiancé resides, and your fiancé will complete the application for a K-1 nonimmigrant visa. An in-person interview at the embassy or consulate is required.
If the K-1 visa is approved, your fiancé can travel to the United States to request entrance. If allowed, you will then need to marry within 90 days.
To apply for an immigrant marriage visa:
The spouse that is a U.S. citizen must submit Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative to USCIS along with supporting documentation and fees.
If approved, it is forwarded to the NVC who will ask you to complete a form providing information about your agent, unless you already have an attorney representing you.
If everything is in order, the NVC will forward the information to the U.S. embassy or consulate where your spouse resides. Your spouse will be interviewed there.
If an immigrant visa is granted and you have been married less than two years, your spouse’s immigration status will be conditional, and you will have 90 days from the date of your spouse’s entry into the U.S. to request removal of conditional status from the USCIS.
As you can see, completing an application for both the immigrant marriage visa and the non-immigrant fiancé visa can be an extremely detailed and laborious process. There are documentation requirements, fees, income and vaccine requirements, compliance issues, interviews, and more. It can all be extremely confusing for first-time applicants, especially if there is a language barrier.
Due to the complex nature of the process, it is always a good idea to retain the services of an experienced immigration attorney to guide you and your partner through the entire process from start to finish.
Attorney Ejaz A. Sabir from Sabir Law Group has been helping individuals and couples through this process for nearly two decades, and he would be proud to help you too. If you or someone you know is seeking an immigrant marriage visa or a non-immigrant fiancé visa, don’t face this process alone. Call or reach out to Sabir Law Group today for reliable legal counsel and guidance.
As an immigrant himself, attorney Sabir from Sabir Law Group is passionate about uniting couples who want to live in the United States. His extensive knowledge and experience in this area of law has helped countless couples navigate the complexities of obtaining a visa so they can begin their new life together in the U.S. If you live in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania or anywhere else throughout the greater Philadelphia area and you need help with the requirements of a marriage or fiancé visa, call or reach out to Sabir Law Group today to schedule a case consultation!