U.S. Immigration law allows two methods for U.S. citizens to bring future spouses to the U.S.:
K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa
The K-1 visa permits the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) to travel to the United States and marry his or her U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. The foreign-citizen will then apply for adjustment of status to a permanent resident (LPR) with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The K-1 Fiancé(e) visa generally takes less time to process than the Alien-Spouse Visa.
Alien-Spouse Immigrant Visa
Immigration Petition for an Alien Spouse of a U.S Citizen
The Alien-Spouse Visa is a proven path toward lawful permanent residency for your spouse.
The spouse of a U.S. citizen is regarded as an "immediate relative" of the U.S. citizen for immigration purposes. The procedure for the immigration petition for the spouse of a U.S. citizen is:
- In the first scenario, the alien spouse is already in the U.S. under a non-immigrant status. In this case, the U.S. citizen may file an immigration petition (I-130) and the alien spouse may file an application to adjust his or her status to permanent resident (I-485) at the same time.
If the marriage takes place abroad, an I-130 petition should be filed after the marriage. This petition should be filed either with USCIS in the U.S., or at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.
- The second scenario is when the alien spouse is outside the U.S. In this case, the U.S. citizen needs to file an immigration petition and request that the USCIS notify a U.S. Consulate in the country where his spouse lives. Once the immigration petition is approved, the National Visa Center of the U.S. State Department sends a "Packet 3" to the U.S. citizen.
After the necessary forms are completed, the alien spouse goes to the U.S. Consulate abroad to apply for an immigrant visa. On the day that the alien spouse enters the United States on an immigrant visa, he or she becomes a U.S. permanent resident.
Please contact USCIS or the appropriate foreign service post for details about what specific documents you will need to file an immigrant petition for a new spouse.
For more information, on the Alien-Spouse Immigrant visa or the K-1 Fiancé(e)Visa, please Contact Us.