Love has been called a universal language and for good reason; for thousands
of years men and women have been marrying people from other countries,
and this is especially a common practice for military personnel, people
who frequently travel abroad, and for people who fall in love with an
immigrant here in the United States. Contrary to popular belief, marrying
a U.S. citizen is not an automatic path to U.S.
citizenship, and while it may shorten the
naturalization process, an immigrant does not become a U.S. citizen the moment they marry
a U.S.-born citizen, for they too must follow the proper procedures to
citizenship before they can become fully legal.
If you plan to marry a foreign national who is not legally residing in
the United States, you will need to fill out the Form I-129F, Petition
for Alien Fiancé(e). In your petition for your fiancé(e)
visa, you must prove: 1) that you are a U.S. citizen, 2) that you intend
to marry your fiancé within 90 days of he or she entering into
the United States, 3) that both you and your fiancé are free to
marry and any previous marriages have been terminated by annulment, divorce,
or death, and 4) that you met the other person at least one time within
2 years of filing the petition. For requirement #4, there are two exceptions
that require a waiver:
1) Where the requirement to meet in person would violate the strict and
long-established customs of either you or your fiancé.
2) If you can prove that the requirements to meet would cause undue hardship upon you.
Once the fiancé visa is issued or the K-1 nonimmigrant visa, your
fiancé will be allowed to enter the United States for 90 days so
you can have your marriage ceremony. Once you are officially married,
your spouse can apply for permanent residence and remain in the U.S. while
the USCIS processes their application.
Another way you can help your non-U.S. citizen fiancé become a citizen
or permanent resident is to marry them overseas. If you get married overseas,
you can file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for your new husband
or wife. If your fiancé already lives here in the United States
and are in another lawful immigration status and you wish to marry here
in the U.S., then you should obtain information about filing an I-130
relative petition after you get married.
If you are getting married to a U.S. citizen or if you are a U.S. citizen
who is planning to marry a non-U.S. citizen, it's important to learn
about U.S. immigration laws and which path would suit you and your future
spouse the best. Please contact a
Winter Park immigration lawyer from Robert Brown LLC to obtain more information on
fiancé visas and 1-130 relative petitions; we look forward to assisting you and your
fiancé during this exciting time in your lives.