This article pertains to the different means available to obtain American citizenship through marriage. The article covers the two primary methods of obtaining citizenship in this manner, which are fiance/fiancee visas and spouse visas.

Fiance/Fiancee Visas and Spouse Visas

Gaining American citizenship by marrying someone, though common throughout this nation’s history, is something that requires considerable thought and planning. Particular care must be used when considering the maze of visas available to immigrants and family members so to guarantee the best possible outcome. Two options known for their own unique characteristics are fiance/fiancee visas and spouse visas, are the K-1 and K-3 visa both of which are Und Understanding K-1 and K-3 Visas
American citizens can bring the citizens of other countries to the United States, provided they intend to marry their fiances or fiancees, using what is known as a K-1 visa. With such legal clearance, the foreign-born citizen will be able to travel to and stay here for up to 90 days before being married. After that period of time, the individual can adjust his or her immigration status for the purpose of becoming a permanent legal resident (LPR) with the office of U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). The K-1 process takes about six months, with the person usually being able to obtain permanent residency status in a little less than a year. For comprehensive information on K-1 or K-3 visas, review:

K-3 Visa Status and Requirements

Process and Timelines

The K-1 process is relatively fast compared to the methods used with couples that are already married. The two options available for these individuals are the IR-1, which is also known as CR-1, and the K-3 nonimmigrant visa. American citizens can bring their spouses to this country with a K-3 or with a Petition for Alien Relative, designated as I-130.

A spouse is defined as a person who is legally married to the American citizen or LPR, which can mean a husband, a wife or someone of the same gender. Common law spouses may in some cases also be eligible for legal status. Like the K-1, the CR-1 visa is valid for six months, although it does not require a subsequent adjustment of the person’s status. The spouse of a permanent residence will in some cases be placed on a waiting list until his or her green card is available, although this period is usually shorter than with other family immigration categories.

Differences Between K-1 and K-3 Visas

Both K-1 and K-3 visas require the demonstration by the holder of a bona fide relationship with the other person. In the case of a K-1, the couple must be married in the United States. Besides those married to U.S. citizens and those designated as alien relatives, a nonimmigrant visa can be made available to someone with an approved I-129F form that has been forwarded to an American consulate abroad with the intention of applying for either a K-3 or a K-4. However, the sponsorship of a K-4 will require the following documents:

•A signed petition for the alien relative
•Evidence of citizenship, which can include a birth certificate, a certificate of naturalization or a U.S. passport
•Completed G-325A forms for the sponsor and the future spouse
•Any marriage nullification documents
•A passport-style color photograph of both the sponsor and the future spouse

In addition to these documents, consulate officials may request additional documentation or related information, which is why it is wise to consult beforehand with a spouse visa attorney.

Considering the Costs

Although the K-1 process is faster than other visa methods, its costs are also significantly higher. The costs are associated with the I-129F form, which as of this year consists of a filing fee of $340, plus $265 that must be paid to the consulate and another $1,070 needed to pay for the adjustment in status. The immigrant visa involves the same filing fee to acquire form I-130, plus $325 to the consulate and a USCIS immigrant fee of $165.

Income Requirement Differences

Regardless of the type of visa being sought, the income level of the petitioners will be taken into consideration. Those who are married for the first time will have to prove that their income level is not below 125 percent of the U.S. poverty level. In cases where spouses are applying for green cards, the income of the couple will have to be above the 125 percent requirement.

Consider Professional Legal Assistance

The immigration lawyers at Pride Immigration Law Firm can help candidates and their families determine their best course of action when seeking a visa. We have successfully handled dozens of cases, carefully guiding our clients through every step of the process, from the completion of forms to the final interview.

We Offer Consultations!

The process of helping a present or future spouse gain citizenship can be burdensome, but an attorney can help guarantee that it stays on track. Let our attorneys make the process as easy as possible. Call our office or, send us a description of your case online and schedule your consultation today!

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Beeraj Patel, Esq.

Partner at KPPB Law
Beeraj Patel's philosophy is simple - make it easy for talented and ambitious individuals to have access to immigration materials so that they can make the choice which is right for them.
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