Marrying for a Green Card

Northern Virginia Family Law Firm Assists with Complicated Marital Situations

Marrying for a Green Card? Arlington Family Law Attorney Will Advise You

If a potential spouse/fiance is coming to the U.S. for the purpose of getting married, various factors will control their ability to obtain legal permanent residence status known as a green card. Their American partner will need to fill out an I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé also known as a K-1 visa.

Marrying U.S. Citizen Not Necessarily Ticket to a Green Card

Marrying a U.S. citizen does not automatically make the non-citizen spouse a permanent resident. If a couple marries in the U.S., the non-citizen spouse must apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for an adjustment of status so that they can become a legal permanent resident.

After the application for adjustment of status is made, it will generally take the USCIS several months or more to adjudicate their legal status. If the applying spouse wishes to work while their application for status is pending, they will need to apply for and obtain authorization from the USCIS to do so.

If the couple marries outside the U.S. or leaves the U.S. after the marriage but before applying to the USCIS to adjust status, the government makes the presumption that the non-citizen spouse intends to become a permanent resident of the U.S. and requires that they apply for an immigrant visa at the nearest U.S. consulate. this means your spouse will most likely not receive a visa until their residence petition is properly adjudicated, which takes months to process. If they marry and attempt to re-enter the U.S. with a non-immigrant student F visa or J visa, the non-citizen spouse could be accused of attempting a fraudulent entry and not allowed access at the Port of Entry. This will cause serious complications during the adjudication of their residence status. Always consult with an experienced immigration attorney prior to making marriage plans.

Contact an Experienced Virginia Family Law Attorney Today

If you need competent legal advice regarding marriage and U.S. citizenship, Claudia Zucker has been representing Virginia clients in family court for more than two decades. You may contact her online or call (703) 596-1005 to set up your initial consultation today. She is available for consultation by telephone, various video chat platforms, or in person.