U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the governmental agency that conducts interviews to determine if a person got married in order to obtain a “green card” (permanent residence). During some interviews, the spouses are separated for a few minutes and are asked the same questions so that the immigration officer can see if the spouses give the same answers. The spouses’ lawyer is allowed to be present during all of the questions asked by the immigration officer. It is helpful to have a lawyer who has experience with this process.
One of the main goals of the U.S. immigration laws is to help unite families. Accordingly, a person who is married to a U.S. citizen can apply to become a permanent resident. Permanent residents have many of the same rights and privileges as U.S. citizens. After a person has been a permanent resident for five years (sometimes less than five years), that person can become a U.S. citizen.
A person who is married to a U.S. citizen can apply to become a permanent resident even if that person does not live in the United States.
A person who is married to a permanent resident can apply to become a permanent resident, but that process takes longer than the process involving spouses of U.S. citizens.
Conditional Permanent Resident
If a person gains permanent residence as a result of being married to a U.S. citizen, and if they have been married less than two years, that person will be a conditional permanent resident. About two years after becoming a conditional permanent resident, that person can apply to have the conditions on their status removed. If the couple is still married, a joint petition to remove conditions can be filed. If the couple is divorced, a waiver can be applied for.
Same-sex marriages are now recognized under the U.S. immigration laws. In Texas, a same-sex couple that is married does not have to travel to another state to file an application under the immigration laws. If a person in a same-sex marriage is married to a U.S. citizen, that person can apply to become a permanent resident.
If a person is engaged to be married to a U.S. citizen, that person can apply for a K-1 visa, which is known as a fiancé visa. To apply for a fiancé visa, the couple will need to prove that they have met at least once in person. After a person enters the U.S. on a fiancé visa, that person has 90 days to get married. After getting married to the U.S. citizen, the non-citizen will be able to apply to become a permanent resident.