Dear Sir/Madam:I have a girl friend outside of the country. What I would like to know is what is better, marry her abroad and then petition here to immigrate to America? The other alternative is whether the period of petition is faster if I just filed a fiancee visa first and then marry herin the United States?I was paid member since March but since I did not really have a question to ask before this I cancelled my membership in June.Sincerely yours,XXXXX
State/Country relating to question: California
None. Since my question is about immigration matter - marrying a foreigner.
Hi, my name is Kim & I will be happy to answer your question.
Above you asked: "What I would like to know is what is better, marry her abroad and then petition here to immigrate to America? "
"The other alternative is whether the period of petition is faster if I just filed a fiancee visa first and then marry her in the United States?"
My response to the first part of your question is:
If you decide to marry abroad, you have 2 options:
a) The I-129F (K-3 spouse visa) petition. Once you are married, the US citizen files the I-129F for Spouse. Once that is approved, all of the information will be sent to the National Visa Center for processing & the spouse completes consular processing abroad: including a medical exam, police clearance, and interview at the US consulate. If all is approved, she will then be given a K-3 non-immigrant visa for a spouse so she can enter the US. This part of the process outside of the US takes between 3 & 6 months to complete. Once she enters the US, then the I-485 adjustment of status, I-131 Advance parole travel document, and the I-765 employment authorization (EAD) will be filed. After the I-485 is completed, in most cases, it will take between 6 months and a year for her to receive her green card. However she will be in the US during the I-485 processing. This option is faster but more expensive than the I-130 complete consular processing due to adjustment of status in US.
b) The I-130 Family Petition- complete consular processing. The US citizen files the I-130 Family petition for spouse while she is still abroad. Once that is approved, all of the information will be sent to the National Visa Center for processing & the spouse completes consular processing abroad: including a medical exam, police clearance, and interview at the US consulate. If all is approved, she will then be given an I-551 stamp in her passport allowing her to enter the US as a Legal Permanent Resident (green card holder). She will then recieve her hard copy green card in the US about a month after she arrives. In most cases, this process takes approximately 9 months to a year ouside the US. However, she will enter as a green card hold and will not have to complete adjustment of status in the US. It takes longer, but is also less expensive.
For the second part of your question, you may also go the fiance route if so desired. This visa process is scrutinized more closely but is also very common. It is not any faster than the K-3 spouse non-immigrant visa process. It takes approximately 3-6 months outside of the US and 9 months to a year or so in the US until green card is issued.
Before you can marry in the US, then you as the US citizen would need to file the I-129F petition for alien fiance. You will have to show that your relationship is real and that you have met at least 1 time within the past 2 years. You should include evidence such as email correspondence, letters, cards, photos of you two together, or anything that shows your relationship is one leading to marriage.
Once the I-129F is approved, as as long as your finace is otherwise admissable to the US, then she would have a medical exam, a police clearance, visa fees paid to the National Visa Center (NVC), and an interview at the US consulate. If everything is approved, then she will receive a K-1 visa (fiance visa) in order to enter theUS. After she enters then the two of you must marry within 90 days or she willhave to leave the US.
Once you are married, then the US citizen spouse must file the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, the I-485 Petition to Adjust Status, the I-131 Application for Advance Parole Travel Document, and the I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (EAD). Once all of those have been processed and approved, then your wife will receive a conditional green card and be a legal permanent resident.
This process takes about 3-6 months OUTSIDE of the US for the fiance to recieve her K-1 fiance non-immigrant visa and approximately 9 months to a year inside the US for adjustment of status.
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I currently practice family immigration law
I have a follow up question:What if she comes here as a tourist and then I marry her here, is that a good and faster alternative?Thank you very much.CatalinoT. Ribac
Thank you for the follow up and for the accept.
No, that is not a faster or better way to enter. If she enters as a visitor, either on a multiple entry B visa or through the VWP - visa waiver program allowed for certain countries, then she is saying to the US that her intent is to leave and go back to her home country. If her intent is to stay, and she does so by marrying a US citizen, then he visitor visa is canceled and she will still have to leave the US. It is risky to attempt it that way. The goal is to avoid any possible issues of inadmissibility in the future.
I hope that helped!
Thank you, Lino. it was a pleaseure answering your immigration question. If you have any questions in the future, please feel free to ask me. You can reach me by putting FOR KIMBERLY at the beginning of your question.I wish you all the luck in the world with your marriage!Kim
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