United States citizens who are married or engaged to foreign nationals have the opportunity to apply for a K-1 fiancé visa or a K-3 spouse visa. That is, if the fiancé or spouse is of the opposite sex. On the other hand, same-sex couples have an extremely difficult time obtaining green cards for their foreign-born spouses, even if the couple is legally married in one of the states that recognize same-sex marriage.
Under United States immigration laws, U.S. citizens are given an avenue to bring their foreign national fiancés or spouses into the country so they can spend their lives together. But the laws surrounding applying for fiancé visas and marriage petitions are complex, and few situations are black and white.
If you enter the United States on a K-1 or K-3 visa as the fiancé or spouse of a United States citizen, you can petition to obtain a green card. However, if you have been married for less than two years at the time you apply, you will be given a "conditional" green card.
Under federal law, United States citizens are allowed to bring a fiancé or spouse who is a foreign national into the country through the legal immigration process. However, the laws are very complex and confuse most people in South Carolina and elsewhere.
United States citizens who are engaged to be married to a foreign national can use the immigration laws as an avenue to bring their loved ones into the country to begin their life together. However, there is stress and anxiety that goes along with applying for fiancé visas and marriage petitions.
DID YOU KNOW that a K-1 fiancé(e) visa holder who fails to marry his or her U.S.-citizen spouse after entry to the United States is barred from seeking an adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident of the United States. The relevant statutory scheme and regulations require that a K-1 nonimmigrant must marry his or her U.S.-citizen fiancé(e) spouse within ninety days after admission. Strict compliance with this requirement will enable the K-1 and dependent minor children to adjust status as conditional residents, which conditions will be removed upon filing a timely petition to remove conditions of residence (within 21 to 24 months after the granting of the conditional residence). Adjustment of status is permissible even if the marriage takes place outside of the ninety days as long as the marriage is to the U.S. citizen who originally filed a petition for the K-1 with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.