Marriage Based Green Card & K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa
Specializing in Immigration for Spouses and Couples
The San Francisco Bay Area is a melting pot of cultures from immigrants all over the world. Many people come to work in one of the many vibrant industries here and end up meeting their future husband or wife. When that happens, we can help answer questions like "What happens next with marriage based green cards, or k-1 Fiancé(e) Visa applications?" We are experts in the area of Marriage Based Immigration and have helped hundreds of clients attain their goal of Immigration to the United States through a marriage based green card and fiancé visa.
Marriage to U.S. Citizen
Our office specializes in Marriage to U.S. Citizen Green Card cases. Spouses of US citizens are classified as immediate relatives and can file for their family members (including children under 21, and parents) and are not subject to the Department of State Visa Bulletin, shortening the length of the processing time. Our office has represented hundreds of foreign nationals before US Citizenship & Immigration Services and the Department of State with successful results.
If Your Spouse is In the U.S.
If your spouse is in the U.S. then they may be eligible to apply for legal permanent residency in the U.S. without having to travel abroad for an interview in their home country. They may also apply for work authorization and permission to travel abroad if needed while they await their notice of interview at the local U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) office.
The work permit and travel permit are usually issued within a few of months. The green card process normally takes longer. Call our office for current processing times of marriage green card applications filed in the U.S.
In any case, the foreign-born spouse is permitted to live, work, and study in the United States while the application is pending.
If Your Spouse is Outside the U.S.
If a U.S. citizen marries a foreign national outside of the United States, the foreign-born spouse must usually wait outside the United States for the immigrant visa to be approved. Procedurally, this petition process also includes presentation of documents and an interview at the U.S. Embassy or consulate in the country where the foreign-born spouse resides, before an immigrant visa is granted. Usually, immigration processing time through the consulate is longer than in many local USCIS offices.
Conditional Residency & I-751 Removal of Conditions
If the marriage is less than two-years-old before permanent residency is approved, USCIS will issue conditional residency valid for two years. Conditional residency can be removed within 90 days of the expiration of the green card and must be petitioned for jointly by both spouses. Failure to remove the conditional residency in time places the foreign-born spouse out of status and subjects him or her to deportation proceedings. Our office has over 20 years experience representing couples in filing I-751 petitions to remove conditional residency requirements from their green card.
If the marriage has dissolved for reasons of death of the citizen spouse, spousal abuse, or divorce, the foreign-born spouse may request to have the joint petition requirement waived. Our office is experienced in obtaining waivers of the joint petition requirement. Most individually filed I-751 Petitions to Remove Conditional Residency will require an interview at the local USCIS office with jurisdiction over your case.
Understanding The Process
At Leiva Law Firm we assist clients through the process of applying for a K-1 Fiancé(e) visa. We have represented clients from all over the world in the K-1 Visa Process and have successfully obtained fiancé visa approvals from the U.S. Consulates in Ireland, France, Germany, Mexico, Iran, Taiwan, Dominican Republic, and Turkey to name a few.
K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa for Same-Sex Couples
Additionally, we have represented many same-sex couples through the Fiancé Visa process and are familiar with the cultural difficulties present for some couples depending on the country the Fiancé(e) is applying from.
We understand this is a complicated and strenuous process for the couple and work hard to make it run as smoothly as possible for you.
Am I Eligible?
To be eligible for a Fiancé(e) visa, the law requires that you:
- Intend to marry a U.S. citizen,
- Have met your intended spouse in person within the last two years (though this can be waived based on cultural customs or extreme hardship), and
- Are legally able to marry.
We will first apply for the K-1 Fiancé(e) visa with USCIS, which takes approximately 4-6 months to be approved. Your application will then be forwarded to the Consulate or Embassy where they will go through Consular Processing and prepare for your Fiancé(e)'s interview. This Fiancé(e) visa will allow your partner to enter the U.S. in order to get married. Once your fiancé is in the country, you will have 90 days to get married after their arrival. Once you are married, we will proceed with the green card application.
After your wedding, your Fiancé(e) can apply to adjust status from a K-1 Visa holder to a Permanent Resident (green card holder). That process takes 6-8 months, and your partner can remain in the United States while the case is being completed, they will also receive work authorization and a travel permit while the case is pending.
An attorney at Leiva Law Firm will prepare you for and attend the immigration office interview in the U.S. with you.
Immigration Lawyer Support at USCIS
Help with Marriage Fraud Interviews
Being called for a fraud interview is not part of the usual application process and is definitely not a good sign. It means that your application has been singled out because you haven’t given enough evidence to prove a real marriage, your application contains some inconsistencies, or something about you and your spouse looks suspicious.
Detecting marriage fraud is a top priority for USCIS. USCIS officers still quote a survey from the 1980s which found that up to 30% of marriages between aliens and U.S. citizens are suspect. That survey has since been shown to be deeply flawed, but its legacy lives on.
The U.S. government will not normally follow a couple around or investigate their life beyond the required paperwork and the interviews it always conducts. But it has the power to do so if it sees grounds for suspicion. Inspectors of the Department of Homeland Security can visit your home, talk to your friends, interview your employers, and so on.
If you get notice of a second fraud (Stokes) interview you should schedule a consultation with an attorney experienced in attending these types of interviews.
In the classic Fraud Interview, and sometimes during an initial Green Card Interview, a USCIS officer places you and your spouse in separate rooms and asks each of you an identical set of questions. Later, the officer compares your answers to see if there are inconsistencies.
Our attorneys attend Fraud Interviews at the San Francisco, Santa Clara and Sacramento USCIS offices regularly. We will review your application and to try and determine why your application was singled out, prepare you for the interview and attend with you the day of. If there are follow up issues to address after your Stokes interview our firm will also be able to respond to any further questions USCIS has since we have been present in both of your separate interviews.
If you have been scheduled for a second interview or Fraud Interview, contact our office to schedule a case evaluation.