Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

    American Dream – Fiance(e) Visas

    Fiance(e) Visas

    If you have fallen in love with an American (and vice-versa of course), then the best way you can be together in the US would be to get married. Of course if you can qualify for an employment or investment based visa on your own merits then you can be together without marrying. The choice is yours.

    Getting married to an American citizen is a fairly straightforward process but there is a set procedure to follow if you are going to do it right.

    The American citizen must petition USCIS for you. This is not like asking the American government for permission to get married, but instead it is making your intentions known to USCIS so they can assess whether, if you got married, USCIS would be prepared to grant permanent resident status to your spouse and any children from a previous relationship.

    The petition process can take between four and nine months to come through. The petition application itself is quite substantial as you will have to produce evidence as to how you met, fell in love and that firm wedding plans have been made for a certain wedding date. Historical information is required as to the backgrounds of both parties.

    Many foreign nationals desperate to stay or enter the US will enter into fraudulent or sham marriages. Because these marriages were only entered into as a sham they seldom last. USCIS will suspect fraud whenever an American decides to marry a foreign national. As a result USCIS will scrupulously review every visa petition on this basis.

    The only way to avoid delays is to submit as much supporting documentation as to the history of the relationship as possible.

    Where a permanent resident, (green card holder), chooses to marry a foreign national the foreign national will be granted green card status. These petitions however, can take several years to be decided upon as they fall into to a lower category of priority than petitions involving American citizens. It may be that the green card holder has held their green card for a sufficient length of time to qualify for citizenship but has never got around to doing it.

    When the petition is finally approved the beneficiary of the petition (the foreign national) will have to apply for their visa to enter the US, if they have not already done so by way of some other US visa.