K1 Fiance to US Citizen in 6 Steps
I speak to a lot of callers who think that once their fiance arrives in the USA and they get married that the fiance automatically becomes a US citizen. Sorry, this is not true. So here I will try to clarify the steps, starting from long distance romance through Naturalization when your fiance can finally become a US Citizen.
Step 1: Find Her or Him
The process starts with you falling in love with someone who was born and lives outside the USA. While it is pretty easy to meet someone using the internet and it is pretty easy again for a US citizen to travel wherever he likes in the world it turns out it’s not so easy to bring your new love to live with you permanently in the USA. So this requires the next step.
Step 2. K1 Fiance Visa
You have fallen in love you have proposed marriage you want to live together forever and ever. Fortunately the US government understands your situation and they have already invented a Visa called a fiance visa that you may apply for.
The fiance visa allows your foreign-born fiance to enter the USA and to spend 90 days checking out the situation. It allows the opportunity to meet your family, see where you live and decide whether to get married and live with you in the USA or to return overseas.
Even though you’re in love and you are a US citizen bringing your love to here to the USA is not automatic and needs a carefully crafted application. You must convince the US government that your relationship is what’s called “Bona fide” that it is genuine and that there is no plan to gain entrance to the USA for the wrong reasons.
While you are undoubtedly honest, many bad apples have come before you, making US immigration suspicious to all applictions. This is because gold-diggers, Gigolos, con-men, even terrorists have attempted to sneak into the USA using the fiance visa.
What VisaCoach does is help you prove your case so that the consular officer has no doubt that he should approve the visa. On average to process to get a fiance visa takes roughly six months from the time we submit the petition to Homeland Security to the time your fiance gets the Visa into his or her passport.
Step 3. The wedding.
After your fiance arrives in the USA you have 90 days in which to make a final decision to get married. Your fiance is not required to marry and may return to home country. But most do go to the altar within the 90 days. The 90’th day is a critical date because if the marriage occurs by then, your fiance is basically at the head of the line to apply for adjustment of status to remain in the USA.
But if not married with 90 days should leave.
Step 4 Adjustment of Status
Marrying within the 90 days your fiance still cannot stay in the USA her visa has expired after 90 days and she should leave. She should leave unless, you both apply to U.S. immigration to allow her to remain in the USA.
This is called adjustment of status. You are applying to adjust his or her immigration status from that of a temporary 90-day visitor to a person who is granted permission to remain permanently in the USA. When permanent residency is approved your fiance who is now your new spouseiis given a document called the green card. Basically is a drivers licence sized ID card that all lawful permanent residents must carry that proves they have permission to live in the USA
Step 5 Removal of Conditions
But US immigration is still not done with your case. It’s still not over. Immigration was still not completely confident about your “bona fides” and decided to apply the “test of time” to require you to return in 2 years to demonstrate you are still a real couple.
The initial green card that was granted was “conditional”. It was only valid for two years. At the end of the two years you must return to immigration once again, this time to upgrade the permanent residency to one without conditions. This is the so called “10 year green card”.
Step 6. US Citizenship
2 years and 9 months after the start date of your spouse’s initial permanent residency, your spouse is eligible to apply for US citizenship.
The process to become a US Citizen includes another petition to USCIS, where your spouse demonstrates her/his eligibility, followed by an interview with a USCIS officer to test English ability and US Civics knowledge.
Naturalizing to become a US. citizen is the final immigration step. Once your spouse becomes a Citizen your dealings with US Immigration are finally over.
Unless of course your spouse decides to sponsor her family to come to the USA.
By Fred Wahl