Contemplating Living in the US after a Marriage to a US Citizen? Possible Paths to US Permanent Residence for a Foreign National Spouse
A personal life change like marriage effects foreign nationals who live and work in the US, on temporary visas. Marriage to a US citizen can create a need for (or opportunity to) obtain permanent residence in the US.
|Type of Visa Path||Best for those Living…||Costly government fees?*||Can Travel In & Out of US Easily?||Marry First?|
|Fiancé Visa (K-1 visa) and Adjustment of Status||Beneficiary Abroad & Petitioner (US Citizen) in US||Yes, government fees: $1760
||No, can enter US on a K-1 visa only one time. Can leave and enter possibly on a non-immigrant visa, if it allows intent to stay permanently in the US (e.g., L, H, TN, not B!)||No|
|Marry, file I-130, then come here “Soon” on a K-3 visa and Adjust Status||Beneficiary Abroad & Petitioner (US Citizen) in US||Yes, government fees: $1840
||Yes, even after the I-485 is filed.
Note: overstay of a previous visa make an applicant ineligible for a K-3 without a waiver.
|Adjustment of Status (concurrent filing of I-130 & I-485 with the USCIS). No embassy interview.||Both Beneficiary & Petitioner (US Citizen) in US||Yes, government fees: $1490
||No, it commonly takes 2-2 1/2 months after any entry to the US on a non-immigrant intent visa to make a decision to stay permanently. Need to wait 3 more months in the US for travel permission after filing I-485.||Yes|
|Immigrant Visa from US Embassy (file I-130 in US)||Beneficiary, mostly abroad, & Petitioner either abroad with spouse or in US; Bona fide couple without living together?||Least expensive government fees: $912
||Yes, on a temporary visa (e.g., B or TN).||Yes|
* Government filing fees as of February 17, 2011.
This chart is for general use in discussions with an immigration attorney on common paths to US permanent residence for a foreign national who is considering marrying or who has married a US citizen. It takes into consideration only some of the factors that lead to a decision on how to or whether to obtain a US “green card.” It should not be taken as legal advice of any kind for a particular purpose or individual.Share this Article