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Questions about Marriage Visa Requirements

Marriage visas, as the name suggests, allow U.S. citizens to obtain a visa for their foreign national fiancés/spouses. There are variations of marriage visas, such as the K-1 visa issued for fiancés and the K-3 visa for spouses of U.S. citizens. Both these visas are non-immigrant by classification, which require adjustment of status upon entering the U.S. Derivative visas K-2 and K-4 are issued to minor unmarried children of K-1 and K-3 visa holders respectively. Below are common questions answered by Experts about marriage visas.

I am from the Philippines and I need to file for removal of conditional status before my second anniversary. My husband is unwilling to sign the paperwork. What can I do to get my permanent visa?

In such a scenario you may have to file a divorce and file the visa paperwork by yourself. You may be required to prove the marriage was genuine. This is referred to as a Form I-751 waiver. You need not be divorced while filing the Form I-751. However, when you are called for the interview, usually in eight to twelve months after filing, your divorce should be finalized. If you can prove your marriage was real, you could be granted permanent status.

More information is available at the following link:

What is the procedure for a U.S. marriage visa if the spouse is a U.S. citizen, and how long is the process?

There are two preferred methods:
Immediate Relative Petition: Your spouse could file for Form I-130 in the U.S. It would be forwarded to the U.S. consulate in your home country where you will need to complete the application and attend the interview. If approved you would enter the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident. Processing time is usually twelve months.

K-3 Non-Immigrant Petition: Your spouse needs to file Form I-130 in the U.S. He/she would get a receipt once it has been received. You would need to file Form I-129F – Petition for Alien Fiancé/Spouse – along with the receipt and send it to the U.S. Consulate in your home country. This visa is a multiple entry visa which grants you two years from your entry into the U.S. to adjust status to a lawful permanent resident. You are also allowed to travel back and forth from your home country and the U.S. if required during this two year period. The processing time for a K-3 visa is usually six to twelve months.

If Forms I-130 and I-129 are approved simultaneously, the K-3 application automatically converts to an Immediate Relative Petition.

How long do I and my U.S. citizen spouse need to be married to apply for a marriage visa? What are the documents required for a K-3 petition?

The eligibility for immigration benefit is not dependent on the duration of the marriage. You can apply for a visa, once the civil ceremony is complete and you have the marriage license. There are several documents required for processing a marriage visa some of which are listed below:
  • Proof of United States Citizenship: example- birth certificate
  • Background verification of you and your spouse
  • Certified dispositions of any criminal charges
More details and instructions are available in the link below:

To apply for a marriage visa for my fiancé and have her come to the U.S. from Malaysia, is it mandatory to have met her? What is the procedure?

Yes, the fiancé/marriage visa requires the concerned couple to have met at least once in a span of two years from filing the visa petition. Other criteria include, the spouse should be a U.S. citizen, the intention of marriage must be genuine, and both parties must be free to marry. The filing process is outlined below:
  • You file Form I-129F available on the USCIS website under “Forms”
  • If the petition is approved, the National Visa Center sends forms to your fiancé to fill out
  • The interview will be scheduled at the nearest U.S. consulate
  • Your fiancé can enter the U.S.

Within 90 days of your fiancée’s arrival, you need to be married and your fiancée needs to adjust status to a lawful permanent resident by filing Form I-485. Failure to file within 90 days would imply he/she needs to return to his/her home country.

A marriage visa can help bring your loved one to the U.S. to start your married journey. This visa is the gateway to citizenship too. It also offers other benefits such as bringing any dependent children and employment authorization in the U.S. Asking a lawyer to guide you may be beneficial.
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