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Marriage may be a green light for a green card

You might be one of many Kentucky residents who met the loves of their lives somewhere far away overseas. The saying that love comes around when you least expect it may be true in such cases. Falling in love with a non-U.S. citizen immediately presents certain challenges if you hope to return to the United States to get married and begin your life as a couple. According to U.S. immigration law, there are several ways to help your non-U.S. citizen fiancé obtain lawful permanent residence.

You may have heard tales regarding various types of immigration situations, where a judge makes people wanting to enter the United States with appropriate documents and green cards wait years, sometimes decades, before they can achieve their goals. The amount of red tape involved in such matters tends to fuel an already complicated process, causing undue stress and disappointment on many occasions.

Understanding your options may help expedite the process

The key to smooth sailing when it comes to helping your future spouse lawfully enter the United States and obtain permanent resident status often lies in the type of research you do and support you seek ahead of time. Keeping the following facts in mind may come in handy as you plan your future marriage:

  • It's possible for your fiancé to enter the United States (at least for 90 days) to marry you even before obtaining a green card. For this to happen, you must apply for a visa on behalf of your future spouse.
  • After you're married, your new spouse may remain within U.S. borders to apply for a green card.
  • Another option may be to forgo a United States wedding and marry while you're overseas. This would make your spouse your legal relative, for whom you could then file a Petition for Alien Relative form to help him or her become a lawful permanent resident in the United States.
  • If the person you wish to marry already lawfully resides in the United States on a temporary status, you can get married and then follow the appropriate steps to seek modification of the status so it becomes permanent.

Generally speaking, to be eligible to sponsor your fiancé in becoming a permanent resident,  you must first show evidence of your own citizenship. You must also prove your freedom to marry, and that you have spent time with your fiancé in person within two years before filing a petition on his or her behalf. To seek clarification of U.S. immigration laws that govern such matters, many people reach out for support.

An experienced Texas immigration and naturalization law attorney can assist anyone with questions or concerns regarding a fiancé's status or how best to address a particular challenge within the process of filing a petition on behalf of another.

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