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Getting married abroad? How to bring your spouse to the US

Immigration
Contributed by : Tahmina Watson

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As an immigration attorney, I am frequently asked the same question: "I am engaged and I want to bring my fianc(e) or I am married and I want to bring my wife." In this article, I will address the various ways to bring your ''other half'' to the United States

K-1 visa:
If you have a fianc(e) you wish to bring into the country you can apply for a K-1 visa. In order to apply for a K-1visa, (1) you must be a United States citizen, (2) both you and your fianc(e) must be free to marry, (3) you must have met your fianc(e) in person within the previous two years, and (4) you (the US citizen petitioner) must meet a minimum income requirement. After you make the initial filing to the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS), your case will be sent to the appropriate consulate. The consulate will then set an interview, and make the final determination. Once your fianc(e) enters the United States, you must marry within 90 days. Thereafter, you must file to adjust the status of your spouse. It should be noted that K-1 visa holder is required to marry the petitioner only.

K-3 visa:
If you are already married, you can apply for a K-3 visa. In order to prove your marriage, you will need an official marriage certificate. To qualify for a K-3 visa, (1) the petitioner must be a U.S. citizen, (2) who has a foreign spouse who resides outside the U.S., (3) seeks to enter the U.S to await the availability of an immigrant visa, (4) and the US citizen spouse must have filed a petition for alien relative that is pending. As a K-3 visa holder, your spouse will be able to work and travel freely for two years. During this time they must apply for adjustment of status to receive LPR status. A K-3 visa holder''s visa will expire if they are denied an immigrant visa, or there is a divorce between the K-3 visa holder and the US citizen spouse.

Immigrant petition for an alien relative:
This petition is applying straight for a Green Card. It takes approximately 18 months to receive the visa if the petitioner spouse is a US citizen. Your spouse will be a conditional legal permanent resident for two years. After the passage of two years, a petition to remove the conditions must be jointly filed. However, the joint filing requirement can be waived under certain circumstances. A legal permanent resident spouse may apply for an immigrant petition for a foreign resident spouse. However, for the petition to be approved, a visa must be available for the spouse. The waiting time for visa availability for citizens of the Indian subcontinent countries is approximately 4-5 years.

Please note that this is a very brief summary.
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Tahmina Watson is the founder of Watson Immigration Law based in Seattle, WA. She can be contacted directly at 206-856-3808 or email her at tahmina@watsonimmigrationlaw.com


About Author
Tahmina Watson is an immigration attorney and founder of Watson Immigration Law in Seattle Washington. She was a practicing barrister in London, UK, before immigrating to the United States herself. While her practice includes family-based and employment-based immigration, she has a strong focus on immigrant entrepreneurs and start-up companies. She can be contacted at tahmina@watsonimmigrationlaw.com. You can visit www.watsonimmigrationlaw.com to learn about Tahmina and her practice.

 

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My Business:
Watson Immigration Law, LLC
Seattle

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