What Is Needed to Get a Foreign Bride a Visa to the USA
Many men who want to marry a foreign girl ask the same question, “Are mail order spouse illegal?” The answer is simple — of course, they are not! However, it does not mean that you can just take someone to another country and say something like, “Hey, I’m going to marry her so, you know, you should let her in” — your mail order bride needs a visa, 1-K visa, to be exact. What do you need to do to get it? All the answers can be found below.
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What is a green card bride?
A green card bride is a foreign woman who gets married to a US citizen. The spouse of an American citizen gets an IR1/CR1 visa, which is known as a family-based green card. This document enables the spouse of a US citizen to join their partner in the US as a legal permanent resident. However, before entering the United States, potential green card brides should get a K1 (fiancé) visa. This visa allows for legal entrance to the country and residence in it for 90 days before official marriage.
What are the benefits of being a green card bride?
Numerous American brides for green card have already assured the benefits of applying for an immigrant visa petition and marrying a foreign man. Some of these advantages include:
- As soon as a woman gets the application for a bride visa, she can legally enter the US.
- A potential spouse achieves permanent resident status, so she can enjoy a relationship with a foreign groom without any hassle.
- American brides for green card may become the legal wives of foreign citizens within 90 days after arriving in the country.
- It is possible to become a marriage based green card holder and get permission to work in the nearest future.
What are the risks of being a green card bride?
Green card brides may also experience potential risks, for example:
- Immigration fraud: If the government discovers unlawful or fake marriages, the immigrant may be subject to deportation.
- Financial exploitation: The citizen or lawful permanent resident or the US may take advantage of the immigrant’s lack of familiarity with US laws and customs.
- Limited job opportunities: Depending on the foreign bride’s skills and qualifications, they may have limited job opportunities in the US.
- Social isolation: Foreign brides in USA may feel isolated and disconnected from their family and friends back home.
It is worth mentioning that not all green card marriages are fraudulent, and many are legitimate and successful.
Overview of marriage green card
A marriage green card is a legal document that allows a foreign bride of a US citizen or permanent resident to live and work in the country permanently. The procedure of obtaining a marriage green card by foreign brides in USA is also known as the Marriage-Based Immigration Process.
To be eligible for a marriage green card, the foreign woman be married to a citizen or permanent resident of a country. Moreover, it is necessary to meet certain requirements, including passing a background check and a medical exam. Besides, it is crucial to prove that the potential groom has sufficient income to support the mail order bride in USA, either through employment or through other means.
The process of obtaining a marriage green card can be complex and time-consuming, and it generally involves submitting several forms and supporting documents to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The process can take several months to over a year to complete, depending on the specific circumstances of the case and the terms of application issuance.
What exactly is K-1 visa for mail order bride?
As you have probably guessed, K-1 is a visa a foreign bride needs to live in the US. Obtaining it is a fast and relatively simple way to become a permanent resident. It is often associated with foreign brides men can meet on top mail order bride sites, but it is not only for wives men meet on dating websites but also for people who met each other during vacation/business trip, etc. In other, it works well for all foreign citizens who are going to get married to an American man or woman. To begin the process, you need to file this petition.
Requirements for Americans and non-Americans who are going to get married
Yes, you both need to meet certain requirements to have your bride’s visa approved. What are they? Let us take a look.
Requirements for a future husband
The first requirement is pretty obvious — you need to be a US citizen to apply for a K-1 visa. You can prove it by providing your birth certificate or passport.
You also need to prove that you earn enough to support a foreign citizen in the US by submitting form below. Please note that there is a minimum amount you need to earn or own to have a right to obtain this visa. But, in practice, you need to have at least 125% of this amount.
Requirements for a foreign bride
Applicants (foreign citizens who are going to marry an American,) in turn, need to meet the following requirements:
- An applicant must have permanent residence in another country. People who already live in America cannot apply for this visa.
- An applicant can obtain a visa only if he/she has no criminal records (there are some exceptions to this rule.)
- An applicant needs to prove that he/she has never violated American immigration laws.
- An applicant must be healthy, i.e., have no communicable disease that could pose a risk to other people.
As you can see, there is nothing unexpected or extraordinary — just a basic set of documents needed to prove that your mail order bride is not a threat and that she needs this visa.
Requirements for both of you — prove that you are in love!
We bet you know that sometimes foreigners marry a US citizen not because they are in love but because of the green card. The purpose of the immigration service is not to let it happen. That is why there are some additional requirements for couples.
- Did you meet in person? Yes, you cannot take someone to America if you did not even meet each other at least once during 2 last years. You can describe your meeting in detail, provide photos, videos, take copies of tickets — provide any proofs.
- Are both of you single? Of course, both of you must be single, divorced, or widowed.
- Are you really going to get married? If you apply for this visa, you will confirm that you will get married within 3 months after your bride arrives in the country. You need to provide a declaration, wedding checks, invitations, etc., anything that would prove that you are going to start a family.
Simply put, you need to confirm that your relationship is real by providing any proofs from photos to tickets.
I met Natalia on an international dating site and soon we discovered that we have a lot of shared activities and similar outlooks on life. After 4 months of communication, I decided to visit her country to see whether we really match each other. The outcome of our vacation was a decision to live together. We consulted an immigration lawyer to discover all the nuances of getting an immigrant visa. After our wedding ceremony, my spouse applied for adjustment status and currently, she is a permanent resident of the US. It was a complicated way, but now we enjoy our life as a happy married couple.
I signed up for a dating site to find a soulmate from China. When I came across Mei’s personal page, I decided that I couldn’t live without this woman. After 3 months of getting to know each other online, we met in person in China. The spark between us was so bright, so we didn’t delay our marriage. Mei applied for an immigrant visa, known as a K1 visa, and entered the US upon approval. After getting married, my wife applied for adjustment status to obtain permanent residence. Now she is a green card holder and has the opportunity to work and live a full life with me. Thanks to the dating site, I’ve got a chance for happiness.
Benefits of fiancé visa (K-1)
The bride visa USA or a K-1 visa has the following benefits:
- Allows the couple to be together in the US before getting married.
- Allows for travel: With a bride visa, the foreign national fiancé can enter and exit the United States during the 90-day period leading up to the wedding, which allows for travel and the opportunity to meet the US citizen fiancé’s family and friends.
- Provides work authorization: Once the potential wife enters the US on a bride visa, she is eligible to apply for a work permit and job agency.
Limitations to be aware of
There are a few more important things that should be your priority before filling in the petition form:
- The petition is valid only for 4 months after approval. Hence, you need to apply for a visa during this term.
- Mail order bride can come to the US within the next 6 months. On the expiry of this time limit, she will not be able to enter the country.
- This visa is used once, when someone enters the country.
- After you apply for this visa and get married, your spouse will be able to apply for a green card.
Of course, taking someone to the US is not a piece of cake. It is a long and complicated process, and we recommend you get legal advice in the dedicated marriage broker agency before you get started to make sure that you did not miss anything important and avoid fraud.
Comparison of fiancé visa (K-1) and marriage green card
Study the comparison of a K-1 visa and a marriage green card to avoid illegally and fraudulent issues in your international marriage.
- The US petitioner and mail order bride in USA must have met in person at least once within the past two years
- Both parties must be legally free to marry
- The potential bride must be outside the US when applying for the nonimmigrant visa
Marriage green card:
- The couple must be legally married
- The US petitioner must be either a citizen of the US or a lawful permanent resident (green card holder)
- The foreign spouse must be outside the US or have lawful status in the US
Fiancé visa (K-1):
- The US petitioner files a petition with USCIS
- The mail order bride in USA applies for a K-1 visa in a US embassy
Marriage green card:
- The US petitioner files a petition with USCIS
- The foreign spouse applies for an immigrant visa at a US embassy or consulate or adjusts the status while in the US
Fiancé visa (K-1):
- Allows the couple to be together in the US before getting married
- Provides a pathway to permanent residency
- Allows for travel
Marriage green card:
- Provides permanent residency status
- Allows for work and travel within the US
- Provides a pathway to citizenship
Fiancé visa (K-1):
- The filing fee for the I-129F petition is $535
- The K-1 visa application fee is $265
Marriage green card:
- The filing fee for the I-130 petition is $535
- The application fee for the immigrant visa is $325
- The application fee for adjustment of status is $1,225
The fiancé visa typically takes about 6–9 months to process from start to finish. The marriage green card process, on the other hand, can take anywhere from 8 months to over a year to complete.
The K-1 visa and marriage green card are both options for individuals seeking to immigrate to the United States to be with their spouse. The main difference between these documents is that the K-1 visa is intended for individuals who are engaged to be married to a US citizen, while the marriage green card is for individuals who are already married to a citizen or permanent resident of the US.
Tips from Michael S. Solomon—Specialist in marriage-based immigration law
Our expert Michael S. Solomon specializes in K1 visas and marriage-focused immigration law. He has numerous successful cases in intermarriages and is experienced enough to help cross-cultural couples. Michael compiled the most effective tips on international relationships and the immigration process for our readers to use only relevant information.
- Get a deeper insight into immigration laws. Explore all the nuances of the immigration laws and processes related to bringing your future wife to the USA. In this case, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website will come in handy. Also, it is possible to approach a lawyer to plunge into the world of intermarriage.
- Build genuine love affairs. Establishing a genuine bond with your foreign spouse is important. Citizenship and immigration services check out international marriages for authenticity to ensure they are not fakes. You will need to prove that your relationships are real. In this case, it is necessary to provide photos of you together and texting. Flight tickets and the evidence of real meetings will also come in handy.
- Apply for a fiancé (e) visa. Your future spouse should approach a national visa center to get a visa to enter the US legally. The essential part of visa approval is to undergo an interview at a national visa center. You will need to marry your lady within 90 days after she arrives in the country.
- Get a permanent resident card. Your foreign wife will need a permanent residence to have the opportunity to live and work in the USA. It is necessary to consult an immigration attorney, get a marriage certificate, apply for adjustment status, and get prepared for the time-consuming process of legal immigration.
What other visas may be required?
A K1 visa isn’t the only immigrant visa you can apply for your spouse to enter the US legally. Here are the other visa types that you should know about.
- The CR1 visa, also known as the Conditional Resident visa, is an immigrant visa that is issued to wives of American citizens. Those who have been married for less than 2 years can apply for this visa for the foreign spouse to get permanent residence once she enters the US.
- The K3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa issued for those foreign spouses who are waiting for CR1 visa approval. With the K3 visa, the foreigner can travel to the US and wait for the immigrant visa approval.
- The K-2 visa is a derivative visa for the children of a foreign wife who are under the age of 21. In this case, the children may accompany a foreign spouse when entering the US.