I Am a U.S. Citizen Marrying a Non-U.S. Citizen. What Should I Do?

Congratulations on your marriage! When marrying a Non-U.S. citizen, there are certain steps and procedures that need to be taken before bringing your partner to the United States. Review below to understand the process for marrying a non-U.S. citizen and take the right path to ensure the successful marriage-based Green Card!


I. What happens if both nonimmigrant fiancé(e) and I live within the United States?

When both the main sponsor spouse and the nonimmigrant fiancé(e) are currently living within the United States, they will file a marriage-based Green Card through the Adjustment of Status.

The following are key procedures for the Adjustment of Status process.

  1. Getting married within the United States, and getting registered is the first step
  2. Review the 90-day Rule to see if that rule applies to the marriage-based Green Card applicant
  3. File Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative), along with supporting documentation
  4. File Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status). It can be filed together with Form I-130 through 5. concurrent filing.
  5. Attend medical examination
  6. Attend fingerprinting/biometrics appointment
  7. Attend marriage-based Green Card interview

To know more about the 90-day rule, click here.


II. What happens if the nonimmigrant fiancé(e) is living outside the United States?

When the nonimmigrant fiancé(e) lives outside of the United States while the main sponsor spouse lives within the United States, the marriage-based Green Card applicant will process through consular processing.

The following are key procedures for the Consular Processing.

  1. Getting married outside of the United States, and applying for a marriage-based Green Card application through the U.S. embassy or consulate office
  2. File Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative), along with supporting documentation
  3. File Form DS-260 (Immigrant Visa Electronic Application)
  4. Attend medical examination
  5. Attend fingerprinting/biometrics appointment
  6. Attend marriage-based Green Card interview

Alternatively, should your future spouse be a nonimmigrant fiancé(e), applying for a K-1 visa can also bring your nonimmigrant fiancé(e) to the United States for marriage.


III. What is K-1 (Visa for Fiancé(e) of U.S. Citizens) visa?

When the U.S. citizen is abroad with their future spouse, the foreign nonimmigrant fiancé(e) may obtain a K-1 visa through Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)). This will allow the U.S. citizen and the foreign nonimmigrant fiancé(e) to come to the United States to get married within the United States. After the marriage, the U.S. citizen and the foreign nonimmigrant spouse can apply for a marriage-based Green Card through Adjustment of Status.

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