Anyone who is not from the US but is planning to marry a US citizen can apply to travel to and live in the US. The fiancee of a US citizen can even apply for a green card. There are two options for such couples: the couple can get married outside of the US or in the US. Each decision has an impact on US immigration procedures.
Getting married abroad, for example, means that the couple must apply for their green card through marriage at a US consulate abroad. The process takes between six and nine months. Couples who decide to get married in the US can file for a K1 Fianceé Visa, which allows the non-US fiancée to travel to the US to get married. The process of applying for a green card in this way takes longer – 12-18 months – but the couple can live together in the US while awaiting a decision from US immigration authorities. For this reason, many couples choose to apply for a K1 Fiancée Visa and get married in the US, as it ensures there is no long separation for the couple. Fiancées who apply for a K1 visa and get married in the US can even work in the US while awaiting their green car through marriage.
Applying for a K1 Fianceé Visa means that you intend to marry within 90 days of entering the US. There is no extension for this type of visa, so it is important to plan the marriage ahead of time to ensure that it can take place within this time frame. During this initial 90 day period the fiancée is allowed to work and seek work in the US. Right after the marriage, the couple may file an adjustment of status in order to get a green card for the fiancée. In most cases, the USCIS grants a conditional green card for the newly married individual. After a few years, the applicant can apply for a permanent green card.
The US has a very strict policy against any marriages undertake solely for immigration purposes. For this reason, couples who apply for a green card through marriage or for a K1 visa can expect plenty of detailed questions on their application forms about their relationship. Couples may also need to speak with immigration officials and authorities, whose job it is to determine that a marriage is legitimate. It is important to complete the forms and discuss the relationship with authorities as honestly as possible.