Some think that marriage is the easiest way to establish their immigration status. It’s true that a marriage-based visa can be a good option whether you or your spouse are married to a US citizen. But, not everyone meets the marriage visa requirements.
In this article we’ll look at three marriage visas requirements you must meet before applying for a marriage visa.
1. You Need to Be Legally Married
The first requirement for getting a marriage visa is that you need to be legally married. Living together isn’t enough to qualify. The marriage must be legally recognized and you should have a marriage certificate to prove it.
It doesn’t matter what country you got married in. All that matters is that the marriage is recognized by the government of the country where you were married and that you have documentation to prove it. If you were married abroad, it’s also possible that more than one type of marriage is legally recognized.
For example, many countries recognize common law marriages. This is when even you’re recognized as married even though no formal marriage arrangement has taken place. Requirements for this type of marriage may include both spouses having consented to the marriage, living together for a certain time period, and having the reputation in the community as being married. If you’re in this situation, contact your lawyer to find out whether your relationship qualifies as a legal marriage.
2. Your Marriage Needs to Be Real
Getting married just to get a green card or marriage visa is illegal. To prevent these illegal marriages, the government requires more than a marriage certificate to deem a marriage legitimate. The USCIS has the goal of uncovering fraudulent marriage and look at multiple factors when examining a case.
A previous marriage can quickly derail your case if it’s not handled correctly. If you were married in the past, then consider these questions:
- Are you married to someone in another country?
- Did your previous marriage end legally?
- Do you have the legal documents to prove that your previous marriage has ended?
If you haven’t ended your previous marriage legally, then the USCIS may consider your marriage to be a green card marriage ending your chances of getting a visa.
3. Your Spouse Needs to Be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
It’s only possible to apply for a marriage visa if your spouse is a U.S. Citizen or a permanent resident. This means that it’s not enough for your spouse to have a temporary visa or work permit. Here are a few questions to help you determine if your spouse is a U.S. citizen:
- Were they born in the U.S.?
- Did they become a citizen through naturalization testing?
- Did they get citizenship through a family member?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it’s likely that your spouse is a U.S. citizen.
What If My Spouse Is a Permanent Resident?
If your spouse has a green card it is still possible to apply for a marriage visa. The difference between a permanent resident and a U.S. citizen is that a permanent resident can lose their status. This can affect you, especially since the naturalization process can takes years.
If You Meet the Requirements and Want to Get Started
If you meet the requirements so far you can start the application process for your green card. To get started talk to one of our expert immigration lawyers. They’ll help you review your case, figure out next steps, and get you on the path to citizenship.