What do I need to know about obtaining an immigrant visa through marriage?

The visa application process can be expensive and time-consuming, so it is essential to rely upon accurate information regarding options for immigration to the United States as errors can result in the refusal of your visa application. If one is in a situation where marriage to a U.S. based individual is likely below, we provide factors to consider before deciding what action to take next.

So, let’s discuss what happens to your visa application when marriage is planned.


First, determine the status of your partner.

If you marry a U.S. citizen and are physically present in the U.S., you may be able to undertake an adjustment of status. If you are outside of the U.S. and are not yet married, you may be able to enter via a K-1 visa filed by your fiancé that will make you eligible to enter the U.S.A. to get married within 90 days. Afterwards, your partner will then have to petition you as their spouse. The family-based immigrant route through marriage is considered a relatively straightforward way to obtain a permanent resident card (green card), provided that the marriage was entered in good faith and that you can demonstrate the fundamental nature of the marriage union as part of the marriage-based immigration process is an interview by a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer to inquire about the nature of the relationship and whether it has been entered into in good faith.

Additionally, if your partner is a permanent resident but not a U.S. citizen, they will also be eligible to apply for you to become a permanent resident. However, delays may be possible before you receive your green card due to quotas under this category.

Also, for an individual who is without status in the U.S., adjustment of status to a green card is permitted in the case of marriage to a U.S. citizen but is more complex if one is marrying a permanent resident; in that case, you should consult with a qualified immigration attorney as several case-specific factors need to be weighed.


Are you planning to settle down in the U.S. or return home?

Individuals who enter the United States as tourists (B2 Visa) or students (F1) and are subsequently married can have complex issues that require a knowledgeable immigration attorney to advise, so their interests are protected. First, it is not permitted to enter the United States on a tourist or student visa (with some exceptions) if you intend to remain permanently in the U.S. However, among the only things more complex than U.S. immigration rules is love! One may never plan to meet someone during a visit in the course of study; however, things happen in life. Where circumstances change, intentions follow. Thus, if one enters intending to be on a brief visit and subsequently falls in love and is married, the law allows the visitor to file an adjustment of status according to their U.S. citizen spouse petitioning on their behalf.


Risk of Fraudulent Entry

The government will find a presumption of fraud to exist where an individual who enters the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa such as a tourist or student visa applies for adjustment of status (to a green card) within 90 days of entry.

The applicant will then have the burden to overcome the fraud finding to successfully adjust their status to a green card regardless of whether they are in a good faith marriage. The scam here pertains to whether they committed fraud to enter the U.S. with existing intent to immigrate.

It is well-known that many travellers enter the U.S.A. under visitor visas to get married and then apply for their green cards with the U.S. to avoid the long process of waiting for their marriage-based immigrant benefit from their home countries through Consular Processing.

Customs and Border Patrol officers are trained to detect whether visitors to the U.S. are entering under false pretenses.

That is why it is always recommended to obtain a K-1 visa (Fiancé visa) if one intends to get married in the U.S. While the visa application process may take longer, it will save time and costly legal expenses in the long run if you intend to enter the U.S. to get married.



Suppose you have an existing nonimmigrant visa and intend to marry in the U.S. and become a permanent resident. In that case, the most thoughtful and safest way is to have your partner file a K-1 Visa (Fiancé visa) for you so that you can enter into the U.S. to get married and apply for your immigration benefits within the United States. Alternately, suppose already married or you marry outside of the U.S. In that case, you may have your spouse file a marriage-based immigrant petition for you via consular processing, wherein you will be able to enter the United States with your green card already in hand. Following these essential guidelines will ensure a smooth family-based immigrant process and provide convenience and peace of mind.