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Marriage in the USA Overview

3 Main Types of Marriage visas

Scenario 1: A very common situation that occurs is a foreigner comes to the U.S. legally under a different visa such as a visitor visa, student visa or a working. While in the U.S. they begin dating someone who is an American citizen or Permanent resident (Green card holder). Eventually they decide to get married and have a marriage in the USA. If they get married in the U.S., they will begin their Adjustment of Status process.

Scenario 2: If they get married outside the U.S., they will file paperwork for their K3 Visa or CR1 Visa. Once they obtain the K3 visa they will enter the U.S. and start the Adjustment of Status.

Scenario 3: If a U.S. citizen’s fiance is living abroad, they can obtain the K1 fiance visa, enter the U.S. and start their Green card process.

Marriage visa Expert

A K1 fiance visa or K3 spouse visa may be your only option if your foreign fiance/spouse is NOT able to travel to the USA initially.


Marriage in the USA for Visitor

The Facts

You can only enter on a visitor visa if, at the time of entry, you have the intention of leaving the U.S. in several months, but if your plans change while in the U.S. you can marry and adjust status without having to return to your home country

You should not lie when entering the country. This is fraud and can cause you a lot of problems.


Marriage in the USA for Visitor

The Risks

If you only want to have a marriage in the United States, but not live in the U.S., you can apply for a visitor visa or tourist visa, known as a B-2 Visa. The application process is probably the easiest and fastest in the immigration law field; however, it carries certain risks.

First, there is the risk that the consulate believes you are getting the visa under false pretenses. You can tell the consular officer that you intend to use the visa in order to get married to a U.S. citizen or plan a wedding. Otherwise, USCIS may later claim that you obtained the visa through fraud (pretending to be “only” a tourist), which can prevent you from getting a green card if you want one later.

Second, you could face problems at the U.S. border when you enter. Even after you’ve convinced the consular officer that your intention after marrying is to return to your home country, you’ll still have to convince the U.S. border official. If you get a reasonable official, this should be no problem — your use of a tourist visa is perfectly legal. If you get an official who is inclined to be suspicious, however, it’s another matter and your marriage in the USA may not happen.

The border officials can keep you out if they think you’ve used fraud to obtain the visa, such as having lied about your intentions to return home after the wedding. Once you’ve been removed this way, you may be prevented from reentering the United States for five years. This is called expedited removal process. The border officials have reason to be suspicious, since many people have used tourist visas as a way to enter the United States precisely for the purpose of applying for a green card.

Avoid Mistakes, Avoid Delays, Avoid Denial

Use the Marriage Visa Streamline System to complete your application quickly and easily.


Marriage in the USA for K1 Fiance Visa


The K-1 Fiance Visa allows you to enter the United States legally, have your marriage in the USA and then file your paperwork to obtain your Green Card.

Obtaining a K-1 fiancé visa involves three major steps:

  1. Your U.S. citizen fiancé submits a fiancé visa petition to USCIS.
  2. You fill out forms sent to you from the National Visa Center (NVC)
  3. Fill out some more forms and present them at an interview

The K-1 Fiance Visa processing time is about 6 months in most cases.

Marriage visa Expert

Once you marry, if the 90-day validity period of the K-1 visa has not yet expired, you may file for a Green Card without leaving the United States, this is called Adjustment of Status. Because you have already gotten a K-1 visa, you are exempt from the normal first step in this process (the I-130 visa petition). You will, however, be subject to the two-year conditional residency placed on green cards obtained through marriage to a U.S. citizen.


Marriage in the USA for K1 Fiance Visa

Advantages and Disadvantages

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using a fiancé visa to enter the United States:

  • A K-1 fiance visa may be your only option if your U.S. citizen fiancé is able to travel to your home country to marry you.
  • K-1 Fiance visas last for 90 days, which should, if you act reasonably quickly, it gives you enough time to have a marriage in the USA and prepare your green card application. Remember, the fiancé visa cannot be renewed so use your time wisely.
  • You can use a K-1 visa to enter the U.S. more than once.
  • You may apply for permission to work immediately upon arriving in the United States.
  • After using a fiance visa to go to the United States and have a marriage in the USA, you have a choice of either returning to your home country or staying and applying for a U.S. green card.
  • Your unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible to accompany you on your fiance visa (as K2 dependent visa holders).

Marriage in the USA for K3 Spouse Visa


The K-3 Spouse Visa allows you to marry a US citizen. You can have a marriage in the USA or outside the USA. The importance with this visa is you must already be legally married.

Ensure you follow these important guidelines for your K3 Spouse Visa:

  1. K3 Spouse visa must be filed by the U.S. citizen with USCIS.
  2. Must obtain the visa at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate.
  3. Unmarried children under 21 can be sponsored.
  4. After entering the U.S. as a K-3 Visa holder they then file the Adjustment of Status for their Green card.

Marriage Visa Expert

The benefit of doing the I-129F immediately is that it will most likely get processed sooner and your application will get forward sooner to your Consulate.