There are a number of requirements for any foreign national desiring to live in the U.S. to be able to obtain a Marriage Visa. A marriage visa differs from a fiance visa in a number of ways, the principal difference being a marriage visa requires the foreign national to actually be married to the American citizen.
In order to obtain the marriage visa for a foreign spouse, the American citizen will need to submit the I-130 Form, the Petition for Alien Relative immigration form. After the American citizen submits the petition to the Immigration Office, the US Embassy and the National Visa Center will take care of the rest of the details. Once processing of the request has been completed and the petition approved, the foreign spouse will be permitted residence within the United States.
An IR-1, or Immediate Relative, visa permits the foreign spouse immigration rights to the U.S., and a CR-1, or Conditional Residency, visa is given to those who have been married for under 2 years. To begin the process, the American citizen should apply for a K-3 visa, which allows the foreign spouse to enter the country on a temporary basis to be with his or her spouse. The visa is usually issued within a few months of the petition being lodged, which will allow the foreign national the ability to enter the U.S. in order to complete the marriage visa process.
An additional form will need to be filled out and submitted in the Immigration Office, the I-129F, which is a petition requesting permission for the foreign spouse to enter the country. This is a remnant of the old system of handling these visa requests, but it is still vital that the form be filled out.
The requirements that must be met in order to qualify for the visa are:
* The foreign national and the American citizen must legally be married, and must be able to produce a marriage certificate validating their marriage. Only living together for a number of years is not a valid proof of marriage, and foreign spouses that are not legally married to an American citizen will not be granted the marriage visa due to the American citizen's ineligibility to sponsor an entry visa
* The petitioner must be over 18 years of age, and will need to sign an Affidavit of Support in order to prove sufficient income to sponsor an entry visa
* The American citizen is required to have a residence within the Unites States.
There is an alternate process to filing a marriage visa petition for those who live outside of the United States, which follows a similar process in the foreign country. The American national should visit his local embassy and should file the petition. The request will pass through the same channels as the marriage visa, the end result being that the foreign national is allowed entrance into the United States.
Many couples will return to American soil directly after the marriage, in order to present the necessary paperwork and expedite the process. Visas for the children of the foreign spouse are also able to obtain a visa, the K-4 visa.