If you are the fiance of a U.S. citizen as defined in immigration law, you may be eligible to apply for a green card. The first step in this process would be to apply for the K-1 non-immigrant visa. If you have a child (under 21 and unmarried), that child will also be able to apply for the visa. The non-immigrant visa allows you to enter the United States for 90 days in order to get married to your U.S. citizen fiancé. Once married you can then submit an adjustment of status application as the immediate relative spouse of a U.S. citizen.
Your U.S. citizen fiancé must first file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. Your fiancé must prove eligibility by attaching required documentation and evidence of the family relationship. Any follow up action on the application depends on where you are and other eligibility criteria. If the petition is approved, it is sent to the National Visa Center and then the embassy for processing. You will receive instructions to attend a final interview with required documentation such as the medical and the Affidavit of Support.
K-1 Non-Immigrant Visa at the Embassy
As the fiancé of a U.S. citizen, you will attend an interview for the K-1 non-immigrant visa, which is a 90-day visa. This involves completing the required non-immigrant visa application, payment of the application fee. Once approved, the next step would be to enter the United States with the non-immigrant visa. Once married within 90 days, then submit the adjustment of status application in the United States.
When considering whether to go through with this type of green card application, it is important to take other circumstances and factors into consideration. Failing to do this may cause complications in the application process. For instance, any facts that involve previous denials, past immigration, and criminal violations, previous marriages that involved filings, entry with other types of visas, tax issues, visa overstays, and previous employment in the United States can be just as important as the basic eligibility criteria. A single criminal violation, whether a misdemeanor or more serious, can lead you to be inadmissible to the United States, which may require additional steps to get a green card, such as a waiver.
Adjustment of Status Process
The Adjustment of Status process is usually the final step in this fiancé visa process. If you are located in the United States, you may be able to submit an adjustment of status application. Generally, this involves submitting the non-immigrant visa, proof of entry as a non-immigrant K-1 visa holder and the adjustment of status application along with evidence that you are now married to the U.S. citizen.
Before applying for the green card through the adjustment of status process you should make sure that this is the right process for you. For instance, you should make sure there are no bars to an adjustment of status and no admissibility issues. You must also ensure that you properly prepare the Affidavit of Support and complete the medical examination.
The Affidavit of Support is a contract your relative or a joint sponsor will sign guaranteeing that they will support you for ten years after you get your green card or until you become a United States citizen. The officer will only accept the Affidavit of Support if your relative meets the income requirements based on the current poverty guidelines. You should also consider applying for employment authorization and advanced parole. Advanced parole will allow you to travel outside of the United States during the adjustment of status application process. Each of the pieces of this process can get complicated. If you miss something or make mistakes, it could mean a delayed process or even a denial. It is important to tread carefully and be meticulous through this process.
It is important to consult an experienced immigration attorney to assist you with your case. An attorney will help to guide you through preparing the petition, assist with gathering evidence, and advocate vigorously for you during the process. Here at ST Law Office, I have dedicated my practice solely to immigration matters. I vigorously advocate no matter how simple or complicated the matter. Don’t hesitate to call us at 561-405-4889 or to schedule your initial phone, online or in-person consultation now.