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Marriage to a US Citizen
Many US Citizens marry foreign nationals. (If you have not yet married, you may consider the fiancé visa, as this may be the more expeditious way of bringing your future spouse to the US.) If you are married, the process to bring your foreign spouse varies greatly depending on where the marriage took place as well as the status and physical location of the foreign spouse at the time of application. The first thing that the couple will need to demonstrate is the validity of the marriage. According to U.S. immigration law, the “validity” of a marriage is determined by the law of the place where the marriage was performed. Once you are able to substantiate a valid marriage, some options for immigration are the following:
Marriage within the U.S. and the spouse is currently in the US:
If your spouse is in the U.S. and had entered this country legally (was inspected through US customs in any status) you may file Petition for Alien Relative and for Adjustment of Status at the same time.
Marriage outside the US and Spouse is abroad:
The process commences with the US Citizen filing a Petition for Alien Relative. The processing will commence with USCIS, be transferred to the NVC (National Visa Center) and then move to Consular Processing abroad. Depending on time lines, you may want to file a K-3 visa so that you foreign spouse may arrive in the US sooner than later.
*** If you are not yet married, please discuss Fiancé Visas with an attorney. This may be a more advantageous process over a marital visa.