Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

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K1 Visa, K3 Visa, Green Card Through Embassy and Green Card on Arrival

Green Card By Marriage - What are some of the challenges beyond those of just getting the green card?

Please take some time to review each of the K1 visa, K3 visa, Embassy Processing and Adjustment of Status Options – Making informed decisions is the key to your success!

K1 Visa, K3 Visa, Green Card Through Embassy and Green Card on Arrival are the four ways to obtain your green card by marriage.  I’d like to walk you through them in turn so that you will have a comprehensive understanding as to how these options might benefit you.  The links on this page will certainly give you the information you need, however in this page I’d like to summarize these options for you.

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K1 Visa – Fiancee Visa Option:
The purpose of a K1 visa is to allow a fiancée to come to the US in order to get married within three months of arrival. The K1 visa can take approximately 6-9 months to process. However, during peak case times, US Immigration can take a lot longer. With the variation in processing times throughout the year you can begin to appreciate how tricky it can be to plan a wedding around an uncertain processing time frame. There are several reasons for the lengthy processing times. The first reason is sheer case volumes as there are hundreds of thousands of applications being filed every month. The second reason is fraud detection and the third reason is background checks. With regards to background checks, US Immigration have to make sure that the alien wishing to marry their US citizen is not a criminal with a long history of criminal activity or that the alien is not carrying some kind of virulent disease. The interesting point to make here is that every day thousands of aliens enter the US under the visa waiver program without any criminal or medical background checks. However, with the recent introduction of ESTA US Immigration is now actioning more background checks before visitors are allowed to travel to the US. Please note that once you arrive and marry in the US you will then need to go through a second round of Immigration processing called Adjustment of Status.

K3 Visa – US Citizen Married to Alien Option:

Bringing aliens to be with their American spouses is an awesome privilege we enjoy doing, however our clients should realize that making the move smoothly and successfully takes a lot of patience and planning, so please allow as much time as possible not only to make the relocation but to also settle into the American Dream.

Bringing aliens to be with their American spouses is an awesome privilege we enjoy doing, however our clients should realize that making the move smoothly and successfully takes a lot of patience and planning, so please allow as much time as possible not only to make the relocation but to also settle into the American Dream.

The purpose of the K3 visa is almost identical to that of the K1, the only difference is that the alien is already married to the American citizen and in many cases the US citizen is also living abroad with their alien spouse. The K3 visa is designed to enable the alien to relocate to the US with their spouse as quickly as possible rather than wait in their home country until the entire green card process could be completed. At the time the K3 visas were taking between 6-9 months to process while waiting for the green card to be processed was taking 9-18 months. So there was a clear advantage and incentive to opt for the K3 visa option over the green card.

Like the K1 visa (and then transferring from K1 visa to green card), the K3 visa would function in the same way and the alien would have to go from their K3 visa to green card  through the process called Adjustment of Status.

K1 visa to green card and K3 to green card actually results in the alien having to pay two sets of attorney fees and two sets of US Immigration fees. It can be quite expensive but it does serve a vital purpose for couples who, for a variety of reasons desperately need to be together  in a hurry.

There are a lot of immigration agencies (not law firms) and many law firms who try to work these cases on a cut-price volume basis. If you search the net you’ll find quite an array of pricing.  In my opinion and generally speaking, the cheaper the price the lower the quality of service.  When people are relocating in this way there is an enormous amount of stress, aside from the immigration process. The life changing stakes are very high indeed. Therefore, it’s absolutely important that you hire an expert law firm that can give you all the time and support you need to have all of your questions answered from the initial consultation to getting your green card in your hand. Our fees will reflect that commitment in time and service.

Green Card through the Embassy:
If the US citizen and alien are married then the alien can apply for their green card through the Embassy. The process has gotten faster over recent years so we’re now looking at getting these cases pushed through in about 7-10 months.  As a result there is certainly less of an incentive to use the K3 visa option. Before a decision is made we’ll research the various waiting times and make a comparison and advise you accordingly. Also, obtaining your green card through the Embassy means that by the time you arrive in the US you’ll be all done and will not have to go through another round of immigration processing since you’ll already have your green card.

Adjustment of Status (AOS):

K1 Visa, K3 Visa and AOS present some great options - which one is right for you?

K1 Visa, K3 Visa and AOS present some great options – which one is right for you?

All K1 visa and K3 visa holders will need to go through Adjustment of Status upon their arrival or shortly thereafter. In practical terms they are adjusting from their non-immigrant temporary status to permanent legal resident status (green card).  K1 visa to green card or K3 visa to green card is the proper form and should be followed where ever possible. However, not all couples and families can afford to wait that long especially in the case of some emergency or emotional siutation. It is possible to simply arrive in the US and adjust to green card status if you’re married  to a US citizen or soon after arrival quickly marry your US fiancee.

In this context how this works is that if an alien legally arrives in the US for a holiday and then decides to marry an American citizen (or stay for their US citizen parent/child over 21) , providing they file all the right paperwork they can apply for their work permit and green card while in the US and not have to leave. In these AOS cases if the alien does not have a criminal record or medical difficulties and depending on which country they are coming from, AOS  may be  a practical solution. Attempting to do this yourself could result in you being deported and being barred from re-entry if you mess it up. The only reason this option is not advertised is because US Immigration does not want criminals and carriers of contagious diseases coming into the US in large numbers with the intention to stay; such aliens would not successfully get through the AOS process anyway and would then need to be deported.

The AOS option is a popular one with our clients as it removes the long wait of the K1 and K3 and enables them to get to the US accordingly in their own time frame with more certainty.

We love working with couples and their children, there are K1 visa, K3 visa and Green card implications for them also so please talk to us so we can discuss their needs also.

We love working with couples and their children, there are K1 visa, K3 visa and Green card implications for them also so please talk to us so we can discuss their needs also.

There are some draw backs to this AOS option the most important one being the ability to travel back home while your green card is being processed. In most cases, if the alien simply arrived in the US and we filed AOS papers for them then they would need to stay in the US until their green card arrived and the process would typically take about 6-8 months to complete. If the alien does leave the US before the process is completed then they will most likely have to pay their filing fees again. On the positive side, if the alien is able to settle in the US they will be allowed to work after the first 90-days on an interim work permit  whilst their green card is being processed.  This first 90-days of not being able to work should be carefully considered into your decision making. The loss of three months of income can amount to a lot of stress.

The AOS option should not be entered into lightly and one certainly could not broadcast this intention upon arrival under the Visa Waiver Program as to do so would most likely result in immediate deportation.

In our April 2010 newsletter I wrote a special article about life after arrival in the US, you might find it a useful one to check out. Here.

Conclusion:
I very much look forward to working with you whatever course of action you decide. Our goal will be to provide you with excellent advice, assistance and support from the first consult until your green card is in your hand.  We have additional exclusive ‘client only’ web content and our clients have special online access to their case 24/7 so you’re never out of the loop.

Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

US Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram
Chris M. Ingram LL.M., ESQ – Immigration Attorney
Admitted in New York.
Practice Specializing in US Immigration Law
401 Wilshire Boulevard, 12th Floor,
Santa Monica,
California 90401
Tel: 310 496 4292

Everyday the Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram provides a comprehensive range of US Immigration expertise. We also provide a free consultation for our prospective clients.

Please note that nothing contained in this website or link therefrom shall be regarded as providing legal advice. Please contact us directly for legal advice specific to your situation. Thank You.

Specializing in the E2 Visa, EB1 Green Card, L-1A Visa and O1 Visa and K1 Visa Marriage-Based Immigration. Attorney Chris M. Ingram is dedicated to providing the very best in US Immigration legal representation. Enjoy our website.

Important Notice: Please note that all videos created by the Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram are intended as general information only and not specific legal advice pertaining your case. If you would like specific legal advice on any immigration matter please do not hesitate to contact this law office accordingly. All pictorial images used in these videos and the website in general are licensed stocked images and not portraits, or otherwise, of anyone from the Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram, nor of its clients unless otherwise indicated by name. All images are used solely for illustrative purposes only. Copyright 2010-2015 All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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