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green card through marriage (Legal Permanent Residency)


Spouses of United States Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents may be eligible for permanent residency. If the marriage will take place in the U.S. and the intention is to permanently reside there, the fiance(e) of a US Citizen may be eligible for a K-1 Fiance(e) Visa.

K-1 Fiance(e) Visa Eligibility

  • One party is a U.S. Citizen;
  • Both parties are legally free to marry;
  • The marriage will take place within 90 days of the fiancé(e) entering the United States on the fiancé(e) visa; and
  • You met each other, in person, at least once within 2 years of filing your petition. There are two exceptions that require a waiver:
    • If the requirement to meet would violate strict and long-established customs of your or your fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice.
    • If you prove that the requirement to meet would result in extreme hardship to you. 

Please Note: If the fiancé(e) of a US citizen does not intend to permanently reside in the US, but they want to marry in the US, they may enter the US under the VWP or apply for a B-2 Visitor Visa.

Duration of Visa, Work Authorization and Children 

The visa may be issued for up to 6 months, but the beneficiary and the US citizen must get married within 90 days of the fiancé(e) entering the US.  A K-1 visa holder may apply for work authorization, but once marriage has taken place, the US Citizen Spouse may apply for permanent residence, and remain in the US while USCIS processes the application.  Unmarried children under the age of 21 may enter on K-2 visas. 

K-3 visa

When a US citizen files for a marriage-based I-130 Petition and it is pending, their spouse may be eligible for a K-3 visa. The visa entitles the holder to travel to the US to await the approval of the immigrant visa petition.

Conditional Residency within 2 Years of Marriage 

If the US Citizen Spouse files for a marriage-based green card within 2 years of marriage, a conditional residency green card is issued for two years.  Prior to expiration of the two year conditional residency, both must file a Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.

Same Sex Marriages: Spouses of US Citizens and Green Card holders are now eligible for Green Cards

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