Marriage immigration is when a non-citizen marries an American citizen who is living in the U.S. If the non-citizen spouse wishes to obtain a visa to live and work permanently in the U.S., they can apply to enter the U.S. either on a fiancé or marriage visa.
What Types of Visas Can My Non-Citizen Spouse Get?
There are two common types of visas for spouses or significant others:
- Marriage Visa – To apply for a marriage visa, the citizen, American spouse must file form I-130 petition to sponsor the noncitizen spouse at their local BCIS office. Once the I-130 is approved, the immigrant spouse must then file documents and interview at the nearest American consulate. Lastly, the noncitizen spouse will later be approved for a visa to enter the U.S.
- Fiancé Visa – To apply for a fiancé visa, the American spouse must file form I-129F, a petition for a foreign fiancé, and form I-130. The noncitizen spouse will be called for an interview at the nearest American consulate and then be approved for a fiancé visa. After the I-130 is approved, the noncitizen spouse can file for permanent residency while in the U.S.
Can Same-Sex Couples Get a Marriage or Fiancé Visa?
Yes, same-sex couples can get either a marriage or fiancé visa. After the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense Against Marriage Act was unconstitutional, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency applies the same rules and requirements to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
The USCIS reviews the laws of the jurisdiction where the marriage took place and determines if the same-sex marriage is legally valid.
What Evidence Is Needed to Prove That Our Marriage Is Valid?
It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide the necessary evidence to establish that a valid marriage exists. Evidence such as:
- An official civil record
- Marriage license
- Secondary evidence may be used, but is used only on a case-by-case basis
Should I Get an Immigration Lawyer?
Yes. Immigration is a complicated process. An immigration lawyer can advise you on how best to proceed in obtaining your visa, and may even help your application be processed quicker.