Immigration Quiz

Navigate the Path to U.S. Residency: Green Card Guidance for Fiancés and Spouses

At Sapochnick Law Firm, we know that the journey to marriage is filled with anticipation and dreams, and when your partner is from another country, the legal process of securing a green card becomes a significant part of your shared journey.

If you're a U.S. citizen or permanent resident deeply in love with a non-U.S. citizen, you may be thinking about the next steps to start your life together in the United States. Many couples mistakenly believe that marriage to a U.S. citizen opens an immediate path to a green card or citizenship for the immigrant spouse—sadly, this misconception has led to disappointing situations where partners are turned away at the border.

Your loved one's transition to U.S. residency requires a meticulous multi-step process. It's crucial that you initiate this journey, choosing the right petition—either a fiancé visa (K-1 visa) if you're a U.S. citizen or an immigrant visa petition once you're wed. Be aware that as a U.S. permanent resident, you cannot sponsor a fiancé, and your spouse may face a waiting period even after marriage.

The road to a green card is paved with various stages, including comprehensive paperwork, health examinations, fingerprinting, and a series of approvals; patience is indispensable.

Understanding Visa Eligibility Requirements

Every visa category has its distinct set of criteria.

Qualifications for Fiancé Visas

Intending to marry a U.S. citizen, having met in person within the past two years, and being legally free to marry are the foundational requirements for a fiancé visa. Unfortunately, this visa category cannot help if your partner is already stateside.

The proof needed to establish the validity of your relationship includes evidence of your in-person meeting within the required timeframe and evidence of your intent to marry, such as correspondence, phone records, and contracts related to wedding planning.

If you haven't met due to extenuating circumstances, such as stringent cultural customs or severe hardship for the U.S. partner, U.S. immigration authorities may waive the meeting requirement.

Criteria for Marriage-Based Visas (Green Cards)

To be eligible for a green card through marriage, the immigrant must be legally wed to a U.S. citizen or resident (regardless of where the marriage takes place), not be in another concurrent marriage, and be genuinely married for love, not solely for the purpose of obtaining residency status.

Authenticating your marriage often requires a government-issued marriage certificate. Demonstrating a bona fide marriage involves sharing financial records, children's birth certificates, wedding photos, personal correspondence, and more, to substantiate the depth of your relationship.

Addressing Potential Inadmissibility

All visa applicants must prove that they're not inadmissible, meaning they have no serious criminal records or communicable diseases that pose public health risks.

Note: An immigrant who enters the U.S. with a nonimmigrant visa for the primary purpose of marrying a U.S. resident may face allegations of visa fraud. This can lead to a denial of the green card application.

Green Card Application Overview

Where and how an immigrant spouse applies for a green card is contingent on various factors, such as the current location, the legality of their entry to the U.S., and who they are marrying. Proficient guidance is essential for navigating forms, assembling the correct documentation, and succeeding in the final interview.

At Sapochnick Law Firm, we're committed to supporting you through these pivotal moments. Our insightful resources and experienced attorneys ensure you're well-equipped for this significant life event. If you're ready to begin the process or have questions, please contact us at 619.819.9204, and allow the Sapochnick Law Firm to guide you and your loved one to a successful future together in the U.S.

Client Reviews
Great immigration lawyer, very professional, knowledgeable and experienced. Jacob always answered my questions, e-mails and calls; great customer service from him and everybody at his office. I highly recommend Jacob, probably the best immigration lawyer out there. Plinio Franca
I trust you know how much all of us at the Spreckels Organ Society appreciate your incredible generosity in providing legal assistance with the visas required by the international artists last year during our International Summer Organ Festival. We consider it an honor that you and your firm provided this service, and were delighted to publicize your firm in our concert materials. George H.
That's good news on the approval of our 3 executive L1A visas. You fought a tough RFE, but we won. We are pleased to be working with you. KB is also bringing passports tomorrow again to the US Embassy in Tashkent for visa processing. We look forward to his arrival to the US. Sarvar
I wanted to thank again and again for obtaining my E1 Treaty Trader visa for me. The process was not easy, especially since our trade was all based on Technology. You knew the law, and was able to craft an outstanding file to be presented to Immigration. We are now ready to take the business to the next level. Toda Raba
Thanks for helping me with my marriage-based immigration case. You were very accessible - taking my calls, returning my messages and emails promptly. You answered all my questions. I was most impressed and relieved that you attended the immigration interview with me and my wife. You made the whole process streamline and simple. You really know your stuff, and you're a nice, friendly guy as well. Shane P.