People travel internationally more than ever before. Because of this, people have many more opportunities to meet people of different countries, experience new cultures and develop friendships. For many, these friendships develop into feelings of love and a desire to marry. Plans for marriage are complicated by immigration laws and procedures regarding how and under what circumstances the foreign national fiancee can permanently reside in the United States.
If a United States citizen wants to marry a foreign national in the United States, and the foreign national is outside the United States, the citizen can apply for a fiancee visa. The fiancee visa allows the foreign national to enter the U.S. legally and remain in the U.S. for 90 days to allow time for the wedding ceremony. After the marriage, the new spouse can apply for permanent residency by a process known as adjustment of status, and can remain in the U.S. while the process is pending. A fiancee visa is available only to U.S. citizens, and not to U.S. permanent residents.
United States citizens that marry abroad follow a different process. Once the marriage has occurred, the U.S. citizen spouse can file a Petition for Alien Relative. The petition is approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Service and then the immigrant visa application is processed by the National Visa Center, followed by the U.S. consulate abroad. Once approved, the foreign national becomes a lawful permanent resident and may enter the U.S. as such. Alternatively, in an effort to speed up the process, a spousal visa may be sought at the U.S. consulate, allowing the foreign national to enter the U.S. and then pursue adjustment of status.
Finally, U.S. citizens that wish to marry a foreign national who is already in the U.S. in legal status, may simply marry, file a Petition for Alien Relative and seek adjustment of status to permenant resident concurrently.
For U.S. citizens or permanent residents engaged to a foreign national, it is important to secure experienced legal counsel to assist with all areas of immigration law. Christiansen Law Firm offers a ful range of extensive legal assistance for those in need of help, such as family-based immigration, citizenship and naturalization and international adoption. Christiansen Law Firm seeks to ensure that clients' needs are met by applying our in-depth experience and focus on immigration law to help find the right approach for our clients. Contact Christiansen Law Firm today in Houston or San Antonio to schedule an appointment.