Marriage is not an automatic guarantee of U.S. citizenship. The process of marriage immigration law can be long and tedious. It is important to properly follow all of the necessary steps and give full disclosures to prevent delay or even halt resident or citizenship status.
Can I Marry A Non-U.S. Citizen?
Yes, you may, unless it violates local state laws, i.e., marrying a close relative. The immigration status of a person has no bearing on the legality of a marriage. Once you are married, you will need to apply for a permanent residence visa or a green card. A green card allows a person to live and work in the U.S. The green card is typically valid for 10 years, at which time it will need to be renewed.
Can I Marry A Gay Or Lesbian Partner?
Same-sex marriages are legal in the U.S. as of 2013. You will need to make sure that the marriage is legal in the country in which it took place. Spousal immigration law requires government certified proof of the marriage when you apply for the green card. Consulting a trained lawyer, or legal assistant will help identify what else may be needed from you and your partner to abide by all marriage laws in Houston.
Will My Immigrant Spouse Automatically Become A U.S. Citizen?
No, marriage does not grant automatic citizenship. Once you are married, your spouse will have to file for a green card for permanent citizenship. This can be a complicated process filing forms and documents. Your spouse may be denied a green card if they are inadmissible due to criminal activity, medical issues, suspected marriage fraud, or past U.S. immigration issues.
How Can My Fiance Get A Fiance Visa?
A fiance visa is also known as a K-1 visa. You can apply for a K-1 visa to allow for a marriage ceremony to take place in the United States. You must show proof that you are a U.S. resident, that you intend to marry within the 90 days of your fiance entering the United States, that you both are free to marry, and that you met each for within 2 years of filing this visa petition.
Are There Any Guidelines About Finances?
You, as the U.S. citizen, are required by law to financially support your immigrant spouse above the U.S. Poverty guidelines. You are required to fill out Form-I864 Affidavit of Support, showing proof of your abilities of financial support. You will be required to your spouse for approximately 10 years.
What If My Spouse Is “Out Of Status” Or Has Overstayed A Visa?
Once you are married, it is much easier for a U.S. citizen to help get a green card for your spouse than a permanent resident. The green card would be granted because your spouse is now considered an “immediate relative” under immigration law. Because you are a U.S. citizen and your spouse came into the U.S. with a lawful travel visa, your spouse is qualified to “adjust status” with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at a local USCIS office. This can be done regardless of how long the visa was expired and will not require that your spouse leave the U.S. for the U.S. consulate.
However, if you are a permanent resident, you could immediately apply for a green card for your spouse using Form I-130. But that only puts your spouse on the waitlist. This process could take years, in which time your spouse is in the U.S. unlawfully and could be deported at any time. When the time comes to apply for the green card, your spouse will be required to leave the U.S. and interview with the U.S. consulate.
Should I Consult A Lawyer?
Immigration laws are famously difficult to navigate. If you feel overwhelmed or confused with any part of the process, a family and spousal immigration law firm can help. An attorney can help determine the eligibility of a green card for your spouse, check for potential problems, prepare immigration forms and gather documents, and attend USCIS interviews.
If you have any further questions, please contact our Spousal Immigration Law Office in Houston.