What You Must Know About U.S. Marriage and Immigration Law: Part I

Passport, Green Card, and Social Security Card

US immigration is often a complex process. An applicant needs to meet a list of eligibility criteria, fill in forms, and present relevant documents to file a petition. Quite naturally, a US citizen who marries a foreign national often wonders if marriage automatically guarantees their spouse a US citizenship or if other processes are involved as well. Below is a list of three common questions about the marriage immigration laws and their answers.

Q1: If I marry a foreign national, will my spouse automatically become an American citizen?

Unfortunately, no. In order to become a U.S. citizen your foreign-born spouse must immigrate to the United States. Your spouse must first obtain legal permanent resident status prior to qualifying for U.S. citizenship via naturalization.

Q2: What will be my spouse’s immigration status after marriage?

Your spouse can enter the country through an approved marriage-based immigration petition and enjoy a legal permanent resident status. This status allows your spouse to live and seek employment in the United States for an indefinite period of time. If you are married for less than two years at the time your spouse adjusts to legal permanent residence, your spouse will then get a ‘conditional’ legal permanent residence. A conditional legal permanent residence expires two years after it is granted. Prior to the two years you and your spouse must apply to remove the conditions from your residence.

Q3: Am I entitled to apply for a marriage-based immigrant visa?

No one is entitled to obtain a marriage based visa. However, if you are an American citizen or a legal permanent resident you may petition for an immigrant visa on behalf of your spouse.

If you have any questions regarding the US immigration laws and processes, please get in touch with us.  for you and your loved ones.

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