Getting a Green Card
After Marriage Outside the US
If you were married outside the US, getting a green card after marriage will follow a particular path. Follow this process to bring your spouse home to the states after your ceremony abroad.
Petition to Bring Your Loved One(s) Home
If you were married outside the US, the process starts with petitioning for a visa number with form I-130. Your spouse must have a visa number made available to him or her immediately, as there is no waiting or limit to this type of visa. Once your spouse has a visa number, you can choose one of two paths. You can either . . .
- Wait for approval of I-130, or . . .
- Bring spouse to the US with K3 spouse visa.
Following the I-130 Route
If you choose to go the route of I-130 completion, your spouse will, in the end, receive a green card by marriage sooner. But it will take longer to get him or her stateside legally, so you can live together.
If you choose to wait and complete the green card process with the I-130, you will have to wait for the petition to be approved, and then your spouse will complete the application process and interviews at the nearest US consulate in his/her home country (of origin). Once complete, however, your spouse will enter the US with an immigrant visa and have permanent status. If you have not been married for two years, that status will be conditional, and after 2 years you can apply to remove the conditions.
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Utilizing the K3 Visa
You can also choose to apply for a K3 non-immigrant spouse visa. He or she can enter the states once the K3 application process is complete, and then you'll have to apply for an Adjustment of Status to keep him/her here legally as a permanent resident. It is slower getting a green card after marriage this way, but faster getting your spouse into the country.
Either of these paths will set you on the right road to securing permanent resident status through a marriage green card for your spouse. Only you and your spouse can choose the path that is right for you given your personal circumstances.
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