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Ask Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. Your Own...
Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.
Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq., Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 105647
Experience:  10+ years of experience in various aspects of U.S. Immigration Law.
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How to legalize my marriage with a non-US citizen?

Customer Question

I am a US citizen engaged to Thai citizen. What do we need to do to become legally married in US? Does she become a US citizen after I marry her?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 3 months ago.

Hello!

You mean to marry and to get the Thai citizen U.S. Lawful Permanent Residency? If so, what location will you marry in and what visa did the Thai citizen use to get into the U.S.?

Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 3 months ago.

There are essentially three ways to bring her and none are really fast, unfortunately:

1) The K-1 fiancee visa takes 6 to 9 months, but you must have met before at least once during the last two years in order to process it. The I-129F will cost $340 plus a $350 fee for the visa processing fee. After she enters the U.S., then you have to marry and then you have to pay $1070 for the I-485 and she will have to wait about 5 to 7 months and gets another interview that you attend with your new spouse so that she can get Residency.

2) The K-3 spouse visa takes 6 to 9 months, you must be married. The I-129F will cost $340 and $350 for the visa processing fee. Then after she enters the U.S., she must still file the I-485 for $1070 and wait for the marriage interview about 5 to 7 months later.

3) The CR-1 visa (or IR-1 if your marriage is more than 2 years old) takes about 1 year or so. You must be married. The fees are $420 for the I-130, $330 for the visa processing fee, $88 for an Affidavit of Support fee. But once she enters the U.S., she enters as a Resident and she does not have to file (or pay for) an I-485 nor does she have to attend an additional interview. She just gets her green card in the mail a few weeks later.

So the K-1 and K-3 are faster but generally more expensive. The CR-1 (and IR-1) are slower, but generally cheaper. And no, there is no middle-visa that she can use to enter the U.S. while that process is pending. She will most likely have to wait outside.

Here is a link to those visas:

http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/immigrate/family/fiance.html

and another link:

http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Resources/Resources%20for%20Congress/Congressional%20Reports/I-129F%20Petition%20for%20Alien%20Fiance%28e%29.pdf

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