A United States Citizen can help their alien fiance obtain lawful permanent residence in the United States. One way is to apply for a fiance visa if your fiance resides overseas and you wish to marry in the United States. If approved, your fiance can enter the United States for 90 days in order for the marriage to take place. Once the marriage occurs, your spouse is able to apply for permanent residence and remain in the United States while the matter is processed. An I-129F Form – Petition for Alien Fiance(e) – must be completed an submitted. Once approved, the matter is forwarded to the United States embassy or consulate located nearest to where the fiance lives.
Another method is to marry your fiance overseas. If this occurs a Form I-130 – Petition for Alien Relative – is submitted. In addition to this form, the United States citizen and his or her alien spouse must each complete Form G-325A which provides general biographical information. The purpose for these steps is to prevent marriage fraud.
The marriage certificate alone attached to your petition will not suffice. Other documentation are needed, such as photos, love letters, affidavits from relatives and friends attesting to the marriage, etc. For fiance petitions, it is recommended that you retain an experienced immigration lawyer, such as attorney Sufen Hilf.
If you marry the alien in the United States, proof that the marriage is real needs to be submitted. There is an expectation that you and your alien spouse would reside together after marriage. Other signs of a real marriage include the comingling of your assets through joint bank accounts, joint tax filing, mortgages and titles in both names, etc. The birth certificate of a child born of the marriage is, of course, very strong proof. If your spouse is already in the United States (under most circumstances) you would file a Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative and the Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status at the same time.
Other necessary documents to the process include the following: Form I-864 Affidavit of Support, Form I-131 Application for Travel Document, I -765 Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-693 Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record. The Form I-693 needs to be completed by a USCIS approved Civil Surgeon.
Once all of the aforementioned forms are received, a background check will need to be completed before any adjustment of status or work authorization can be granted.
The final step in the process is the marriage interview. If everything goes well, the immigration officer who conducted the interview can approve the application on the spot by stamping the alien spouse’s passport with a I-551 stamp which indicates that they are a lawful permanent resident if your spouse need to travel before he or she receives the green card itself. I takes approximately 2 to 3 weeks to receive the green card by mail if everything goes well.
If the marriage occurred less than 2 years before, the green card is only good for 2 years. After the 2 year period, Form I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence must be submitted within 90 days of the green card’s expiration, along with proof as to the validity of the marriage. If the marriage was more than 2 years before prior to the adjustment of status, the alien is issued a green card without conditions. In 3 years the now lawful permanent resident spouse can apply for United States Citizenship. Otherwise, the green card must be renewed every 10 years.