Marrying someone from another country is a decision that women make for an assortment of reasons. Perhaps they are influenced by a traditional religion or culture and get married based on family suggestions or plans. Maybe they fall in love while traveling abroad for work or meet somebody really special on the internet.
Regardless of why someone wants to get married to an individual living in another country, they may want to bring their fiancé or spouse to the United States to live with them permanently. The three tips below can help women navigating this challenging process achieve their desired outcome and help their partner to establish lawful permanent residence in the United States.
Get the right documentation
For those already committed by marriage, it may be possible to qualify for a green card upon a spouse’s entry into the country. However, if a couple is engaged but not yet married, it will be a K-1 or fiance visa that is necessary to bring someone into the United States. Mistakes in the application process, such as submitting the wrong forms to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), could lead to rejections or a significantly longer timeline.
Learn about conditional green cards
Those who obtain permanent resident status by virtue of a marriage to a United States citizen typically only receive conditional green cards. Unlike standard green cards, which require renewal paperwork every 10 years, a conditional green card is only valid for two years. There’s a requirement to file extra paperwork to remove those conditions. People typically need to remain reunited in the United States and married for at least two years after the foreign national’s entry into the country to remove the conditional status from their green card.
Prepare for a lengthy delay
The unfortunate truth about green card and visa application processing is that it often takes a very long time to complete. It may be easier to manage the waiting period if both spouses are already in the United States. If they are not, needing to wait anywhere from over a year to more than two years to receive their green card and permission to enter the United States can be a challenge.
Usually, people want to start the process as soon as possible and to manage it as professionally as possible to avoid delays caused by paperwork errors and other mistakes. Seeking legal guidance proactively can, therefore, make all the difference for women who are United States citizens and who want to bring a foreign national spouse to the United States.