Sometimes, people meet a partner outside of the US and decide to get married. When a US citizen or permanent resident decides to marry someone outside of the US, the new spouse must first go through the immigration process in order to gain entry into the US. In most cases, a K1 fiancé(e) visa is granted to allow the partner to enter the US with the purpose of getting married. Once the marriage is finalized, the K-1 fiancé(e) visa holder may seek permanent resident status. In most cases, k-1 visa holders are granted only provisional green cards. This is to discourage immigration fraud, or the practice of marrying only for a green card.
In addition, k1 visa holders may be subject to other restrictions as well in order to help the USCIS detect marriage and immigration fraud. For example, holders of a K1 fiancé visa and partners of the visa holders may be subject to questions by immigration authorities to verify the authenticity of their marriage. Friends and family of the couple may be questioned as well, to verify that the couple are not marrying for immigration purposes.
A k-1 fiancé visa is unique because it is granted to people who wish to immigrate on a permanent basis to the US but is still a temporary or nonimmigrant visa. In order to secure a k-1 visa, the US partner must apply for the k1 visa on behalf of their future spouse. Once the K1 fiancée visa is granted, it is usually issued for 90 days. During this period, the couple need to get married and apply to adjust the status of the non-US spouse. If a k-1 fiancée visa holder is not married within the 90 day period, removal proceedings can begin against that individual.
Currently, same-sex couples may not apply for a K-1 visa in order to allow a non-US spouse to enter the US. If your partner does not qualify for a K1 visa, consult with a US immigration attorney. Your partner may be able to enter the US on a different visa. You can also apply for temporary visas by defining your relationship according to the US State Department. As well, some same-sex couples choose to live outside of the US to avoid visa issues. Advocacy groups have been trying to have a new family category created in order to allow civil partnerships and same-sex partnerships to be recognized by the USCIS.
USCIS Offers More Help to Citizenship Applicants
As part of an annual Constitution Day and Citizenship Day conference, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) this year announced several new opportunities and resources, including $7.8 million in grants offered to community groups as well as a new online Citizenship Resource Center. The grants will go to 75 organizations who promote immigrant integration and citizenship education. The grants will help new immigrants pursue their plans for citizenship, according to the USCIS. The 2010 grants are a significant funding increase over 2009, when the USCIS offered $1.2 million to 13 organizations.
The funding will help organizations provide classes for those pursuing naturalization and will help provide additional citizenship services to naturalization applicants. The grants will be distributed through two grant programs. The Direct Services Grant Program contains money earmarked for local organizations that provide classes and naturalization preparation services. The money will help these organizations grow in order to help more applicants. The National Capacity Building Grant Program is aimed at regional, national, and state organizations. The money offered through these grants will allow these organizations to grow and offer more support at the community level. The organizations receiving grant money are diverse and include community organizations, adult education programs, community colleges, faith-based bodies, public schools and educational institutions, and public libraries.
The online Citizenship Resource Center [http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/citizenship] is a resource designed for teachers, organizations, immigrants, and the general public. The Citizenship Resource Center will combine various citizenship resources in a user-friendly and free-to-use portal that will help people navigate the citizenship process and will help applicants study for the citizenship test as well. The website will include interactive educational modules, podcasts, links to a special America’s Literacy Directory, and educational tools for teachers offering citizenship classes. The resource is a one-stop resource for citizenship. Applicants will be able to use the Citizenship Resource Center to find out more about the naturalization process and to find help. Teachers offering citizenship preparation materials will be able to find lesson plans, teaching ideas and other resources. Citizenship and immigration organizations will be able to find grants, support for clients, and success stories.
The changes come at a time when more people are pursuing citizenship. According to the USCIS website [http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=b62aef6b56c1b210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=68439c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD], close to 500, 000 people had become US citizens by September 2010. This is an increase over some past years. The additional applicants mean that there is a greater demand for citizenship preparation services and information. With the USCIS funding and online resources, hopefully more applicants will find the naturalization process easy and fulfilling to navigate.