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When can you marry a non-U.S. citizen?

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2023 | Family Immigration

You’ve found love outside of the United States, as many people are now that online dating is a common practice. As a green card holder or U.S. citizen, you have the right and liberty to marry anyone outside of the States. Before your betrothed can cross U.S. borders, they have to get a green card.

With the right steps, you can get your newly beloved a marriage green card. The application will look different depending on where you plan to live with your loved one and their current immigration status. The following explains what it’s like to get a green card whether you’re both in the States or if one of you resides outside the States:

When both you and your betrothed live in the States

If you’re a U.S. citizen and your loved one is currently living inside U.S. borders, then it’s likely they already have some kind of visa. If your betrothed has a work or visitor visa, then they may be able to change their status to a green card. Simply put, you and your betrothed can get married and report the change to state or county officials.

The process for filing the correct paperwork depends on if you are a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident. If you are a U.S. citizen, then the process may be shorter. However, if you’re a permanent resident, then your spouse has to maintain their current immigration status until a visa number is available.

When your betrothed lives outside of the States

Alternatively, if your loved one is outside of the States, then they have to either go through consular processing or get a K-1 visa status. If you marry abroad, then your spouse can go through consular processing and get a green card at a U.S. embassy. If you don’t get married abroad, then your loved one can file for a K-1 visa and adjust their status after marriage.

When filing for immigration status, it’s typically best to understand your legal options.