When You Finally Decide to Tie the Knot With a Non-Citizen!
Congratulations! We are finally getting married …
If you, as a United States citizen, decide to marry a person from another country like Iran, you probably have numerous questions about that person’s rights under the U.S. immigration laws.
Will My Immigrant Spouse Become a U.S. Citizen Automatically?Sorry, but no. An immigrant who marries a U.S. citizen must apply for a Green Card (U.S. permanent residency) This is a very long process involving many forms & documents.
After successfully obtaining a green card, the immigrant spouse can, after three years as a permanent resident, apply for U.S. citizenship. (This assumes that you’re still married& living together when the immigrant applies. If not, the waiting period changes to more than ten years.)
If You are Not Married Yet: How Can your Fiancé Get a Fiancé Visa?A fiancé visa grants permission to a non-U.S. citizen who is engaged to marry a U.S. citizen to enter the United states for the purpose of getting married, by filing a petition.
If the petition is approved it will then be forwarded to the U.S. consulate in the immigrant’s home country for review, or for Iranians the consulate of their choice like Turkey, India, Dubai. The review process could take several months. An interview with the applicant will be scheduled to take place at the consulate.If all goes well at the interview, the fiance visa (K-1) will be issued. Once the fiancé visa is issued, the immigrant has six months in which to use it to enter the U.S., & then another 90 days in which to get married. It’s best to get married early in your stay if the immigrant wishes to apply to adjust status (get a green card), because you’ll need an official government certificate proving the marriage in order to submit the adjustment of status application.
Are There Any Regulations About Your Finances?Yes, the immigration outlines specific financial requirements for U.S. citizens who marry non U.S. citizens. The U.S. citizen will need to fill out an Affidavit of Support, which proves the ability to support the immigrant. In fact, the citizen will need to promise the U.S. government to support the non-U.S. spouse for approximately ten years and above.If the U.S. citizen doesn’t have enough income and assets to support the immigrant at the required level, you may need to find a household member or other person in the U.S. to promise support. The immigrant’s own assets can be counted, if substantial, like over $200,000-300,000, as well. A job offer won’t help the applicant.
What if Your Fiancé Overstayed a Visa or is “Out of Status”?The process of helping a spouse immigrate is much easier for citizens than green card holders. That’s partly because a visa is immediately available to the spouse of a citizen (who is an “immediate relative,” in immigration law terms).The combination of your status as a U.S. citizen &the fact that your spouse entered the U.S. with inspection (on a visa) as opposed to having crossed the border or otherwise evaded inspection by immigration officials, gives your spouse an important procedural right: to “adjust status” in the U.S. All of this can be done regardless of the length of time the visa was expired, and without leaving the U.S. for a U.S. consulate. In fact, you should avoid at all costs having your spouse leave the U.S. until receiving the green card.Several years might then go by, during which your spouse will be accruing “unlawful presence” in the United States& could be picked up& deported at any time. Worse yet, when the wait is over and it’s time to apply for a green card, your spouse will NOT be able to adjust status, but will have to leave the U.S. to attend an interview at a U.S. consulate.
As I mentioned earlier this is a very lengthy and tedious process, but hey if you love eachother you are not in a hurry and you are not going anywhere anyways.