Cincinnati Marriage Visa Lawyer
Serving the Greater Cincinnati Region
Are you hoping to obtain a green card for yourself or your partner? While family-based immigration is the most common method of securing legal status in the U.S., it is by no means simple. Both marriage- and fiancé-based visas experience heavy levels of scrutiny by U.S. immigration agencies due to the perceived threat of marriage fraud (i.e. when a foreign citizen marries a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident solely for an immigration benefit).
What is a Marriage Green Card?
A marriage green card can be of benefit for any U.S. citizen or green card holder’s foreign spouse. The green card gives the spouse “permanent resident status” and allows them to live and work anywhere in the U.S. They will become eligible for citizenship via naturalization after three years.
How to Get a Marriage Green Card
There are three basic steps to obtaining a marriage green card:
- Establish that your marriage is valid by submitting Form I-130 “Petition for Alien Relative” along with supporting documents to USCIS.
- Establish that your spouse is eligible for a green card. If your spouse is living in the U.S. complete the Form I-485 “Adjustment of Status” application and file it with USCIS. If they are living abroad, file your application with the National Visa Center (NVC). Your spouse will need to go through consular processing.
- Complete the green card interview. Here, the officer will need to confirm that your marriage is authentic. The questions will go into deep detail about your relationship history, daily activities, and plans for the future. If your spouse is in the U.S., the interview will take place at the local USCIS offices -- you and your spouse must attend. If they are abroad, the interview will take place at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. You (the sponsoring spouse) will not attend.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Marriage Visa?
The processing time for marriage visas may differ depending on your circumstances. If you are a U.S. citizen petitioner or a lawful permanent resident (LPR), you must complete Form I-130 and Form I-130A. Both of these take several months to process and forms from U.S. citizen petitioners have priority. It can take anywhere between 5 to 12 months. For LPR petitioners, it may take 6 - 24 months.
When the I-130 is approved, the U.S. citizen petitioner may apply for a visa and the processing should take about 3 - 5 months. For the permanent resident petitioner, you must wait for a visa to become available based on your spouse’s priority date. This varies depending on where your spouse is from. Typically, it takes about 24 months (2 years). When the priority date arrives and you apply, it may take another 3 - 5 months to process.
Our marriage visa attorneys in Cincinnati at The Fleischer Law Firm LLC have decades of experience helping married couples navigate this legal terrain. Separation from your partner can be extraordinarily stressful, and our goal is to minimize or eliminate this separation by maximizing the efficiency of the process and submitting compelling petitions on your behalf.
Types of Marriage-Based Visas
The exact process you use to obtain lawful permanent residence (i.e. a green card) for a foreign spouse will differ depending on several factors, such as each of your locations, how long you have been married, whether you need to bring children to the U.S., the legal status of the sponsor, and whether you choose to expedite the process through a nonimmigrant visa.
The following visas are adjudicated through consular processing abroad and result in green cards. If the foreign-citizen spouse is already in the U.S. lawfully, they won’t need to obtain a visa. They simply need to adjust their status to lawful permanent residence, a process that takes place without needing to leave the United States.
Here is an overview of each visa you may use during your marriage-based immigration process abroad:
- F2-A immigrant visa. This is for the foreign-citizen spouse of a lawful permanent resident. There is a limited number of visas in this category per year, which means the foreign-citizen spouse will be placed on a waiting list. Once they successfully enter the U.S., they will receive a green card in the mail.
- IR-1 immigrant visa. This is for the foreign-citizen spouse of a U.S. citizen. Once they successfully enter the U.S., they will receive a green card in the mail.
- CR-1 immigrant visa. This is for a foreign-citizen spouse who has been married to a U.S. citizen for less than 2 years. Instead of receiving a regular green card after successfully entering the U.S., the foreign-citizen spouse will receive a conditional green card. They will need to apply to remove conditions on their permanent residence at the end of the 2-year period, and USCIS will determine whether they still qualify. Once conditions are removed, the foreign-citizen spouse will receive a regular green card.
- K-3 nonimmigrant visa. This is meant to shorten the separation between a U.S. citizen and their foreign-citizen spouse. The nonimmigrant visa allows the foreign citizen to come to the U.S. while their immigrant visa application (IR-1 or CR-1) is still pending. Once the immigrant visa is approved, the K-3 visa holder will need to adjust their status to permanent residency. Fortunately, the adjudication process has become much faster in recent years, and the need for a K-3 visa is relatively rare.
- K-4 nonimmigrant visa. This is for the children of K-3 visa holders. They come to the U.S. with their parents and adjust their status when the immigrant visas are approved.
Let’s get started on your marriage-based immigration process today. Call our immigration attorneys in Cincinnati at (513) 880-9969 or contact us online. We look forward to helping you and your spouse as soon as possible.
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The Fleischer Law Firm LLC was founded in 1973. Since then, we have become the go-to immigration team for clients in Cincinnati, Warren County, Butler County, and beyond. We developed our reputation through decades of hard work, integrity, commitment, and compassion, handling every case with close attention to detail and pure tenacity. When you take on the U.S. immigration system, you deserve a team of attorneys you trust to protect your rights and safeguard your family’s future.
Knows the law, prepares well, and fights hard for his clients!- R.S.
He is straight and he tells you the truth.- Omondi
Let me feel at home.- Alice
Very knowledgeable about the entire process.- Pranab
Excellent, professional and knowledgeable immigration lawyer.- Laure-Lyne