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U.S. Marriage Visas and Islamic Laws

US Marriage Visa for Muslims. Overview.

We have spoken with various Islamic centers around the world as well as popular known Islamic dating sites such as Half Our Deen, SimplyShia, Khojamatch and realized there needs to be a definitive source to assist a U.S. citizen muslim brother or sister with their U.S. marriage visa options when they want to marry a foreign muslim and bring them to live in the U.S.

In addition to the essential marriage visa options, we have added specific information about how the marriage visa may apply with respect to Islamic laws (Sharia) and Muslim culture and traditions.

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Three Types of Marriage Visas for You

It is wonderful that you have met someone, want to get married, and bring them to the U.S. As the U.S. citizen, you must now navigate the U.S. immigration system to bring your partner to the U.S. If your fiancé(e)/spouse is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, then you will need to consider how to obtain a Green card for him or her. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as requesting a Green card when he or she arrives at a U.S. airport.

Depending on your situation, there are several different marriage visas which can be chosen. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. The marriage visa options that work for most couples are:

  1. K1 Fiance(e) Visa
  2. K3 or CR1 Spouse Visa
  3. Adjustment of Status

If a mistake is made or proper documentation is not submitted then it can take an additional 4-6 months. Have patience and plan well so your application will take the least amount of time. According to U.S. Immigration (USCIS), 30% of initial applications are denied or delayed, so be careful.

How to Choose the Correct Marriage Visa

If you or someone you know is planning to get married to a non U.S. citizen, choosing the best visa for the situation depends on whether:

  1. You are married or engaged
  2. Your fiancé(e)/spouse is in the U.S. or abroad

K1 Fiance(e) visa

Visa Details

k1 fiance muslim

The K1 fiancé(e) visa can be issued to your fiance(e) if he or she is living abroad and not in the U.S. The K1 visa allows your fiancé(e) to enter the U.S., get married in the U.S. and then apply for a Green card.

If everything goes well and is done correctly. You must get married within 90 days of arriving in the U.S.. Once you have the marriage certificate, you can file for Adjustment of Status, which will get your spouse a Green card.

The K1 visa is for couples who are not married. It allows the foreign fiancé(e) to enter the U.S. and then get married.

Processing time of the K1 Fiance(e) visa can take 4 to 7 months

Read more about the K1 Fiance(e) visa

Concerns for Muslims

The K1 Fiance(e) Visa requires you and your non U.S. Citizen fiancé(e) to take various steps within a specified period of time, which can cause certain problems for many Muslims in planning a proper wedding. The possible concerns for Muslims with the K1 Fiance(e) Visa are:

Religious wedding ceremony performed during engagement
Some couples have a religious wedding ceremony as part of the engagement ceremony. In some countries this may cause problems for the K1 visa in trying to convince a consular officer that you are not yet married.

Insufficient time to plan the wedding
After your foreign fiancé(e) enters the U.S., you have 90 days to get married.

The wedding will need to occur in the U.S.
After your non U.S. Citizen fiancé receives their K1 Visa, they have 6 months to enter the U.S. and then 90 days to get married.

One of the traditions is to have the wedding in the bride’s hometown. If the bride is the foreign fiancé(e), she will need to have at least the civil marriage in the U.S. in order to qualify for a K1 visa.

Applicability for Muslims

While not an ideal solution, one option for Muslims is to have the foreign fiancé(e) arrive in the U.S. on a K1 visa and have the religious ceremony with the civil marriage. You can apply for your Adjustment of Status for your Green card and start planning your main traditional wedding for a later date.

K3 / CR1 Spouse Visa

Visa Details

cr1 visa muslim

The K3 and CR1 visa are for married couples where the foreign spouse is living abroad and wishes to enter the U.S. and obtain their green card.

The K3 Spouse visa is similar to the K1 Fiance Visa except it is for married couples. Originally, it was meant to be a faster alternative to having your spouse enter the U.S. than the CR1 visa.

Due to recent changes with how US Immigration (USCIS) processes K3 visas, it is no longer guaranteed to be a quicker alternative than the CR1 visa and the overall costs with K3 visa are higher. Consequently, many people find the CR1 visa to be a better choice.

The CR1 Spouse visa is issued to your non U.S. Citizen spouse if they are living abroad and not currently in the U.S. The CR1 visa gives your spouse a Green card when he or she enters the U.S.. This is a great benefit but it means US Immigration (USCIS) will take longer to issue the visa because more thorough verification needs to be done.

Processing Times for the CR1 Visa is 9-11 months.

Read more about the K3 / CR1 spouse visa

Applicability for Muslims

The CR1 visa has been the best option for most Muslims as it easily works with muslim traditions and the wedding process.

When the families and the couple have agreed to get married, there is a lot to plan. Traditionally there is an engagement ceremony or announcement of the couple’s plan to marry. Though there is no engagement requirement in Islam it is practiced in most cultures. An official wedding ceremony date will be set one to two years out.

For Muslims at the time of the engagement, temporary or permanent religious wedding ceremony is performed. For the purposes of U.S. Immigration, it is at this time that a civil marriage can also be performed and the CR1 visa application can be started.

It is best to remember that most U.S. visas can take numerous months, so be prepared.

Adjustment of Status

Visa Details

k1 fiance muslim

If your fiancé(e) or spouse is currently in the U.S. on a valid visa (visitor, student, work, etc.), you may be able to apply for their Adjustment of Status to obtain a Green card. The Adjustment of Status is a request to obtain one’s permanent residency or Green card.

Processing Times for the Adjustment of Status is 4-5 months.

Read more about the Adjustment of Status

Applicability for Muslims

This can be a viable option for Muslims when both people are in the U.S. legally. The best option is to wait for your religious marriage ceremony to start the adjustment of status process.

Applying for the Adjustment of Status may not work for every muslim couple, due to the various religious and family values involved. Contact us at to get clarification for your situation.

Next Steps

Each Muslim couple will have different circumstances based on their religious and family values and they should choose what works best for them and their family.

1. Get your Questions Answered.

If you have any questions about your situation, email us at:

2. Start your application. Visa Streamline System

Send us your questions, we will answer them and help you get started with your marriage visa application.

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