Making The American Dream Attainable

If I get married overseas, can I bring my spouse home?

On Behalf of | May 16, 2024 | Immigration |

Love is magical, and knows no borders. Of course, countries do have borders, and sometimes, those two things clash. When a United States citizen ties the knot overseas, bringing their non-United States citizen spouse back home is indeed possible. However, it entails navigating the intricate pathways of the U.S. immigration system.

Spousal visas

You cannot simply bring your new bride or groom home. You will first need a visa, unless your new spouse is from a country that does not need a visa to enter the United States. The primary route for bringing a spouse to the U.S. is through the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. Once approved, the non-US citizen spouse can apply for an immigrant visa.

The visa process

For marriages conducted abroad, consular processing is the standard procedure. This entails the non-U.S. citizen spouse applying for a green card at a U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country, along with filing Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application.

In cases where both partners are already in the United States., the non-U.S. citizen spouse can adjust their status through Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Alternatively, the K-1 visa allows a non-U.S. citizen fiancé(e) to enter the United States to marry a U.S. citizen and reside in the country.

It is crucial to understand that processing times can vary. There might be a waiting period before the non-U.S. citizen spouse can obtain a visa to enter the United States.

While the immigration process can be complex, familiarity with the steps and requirements can facilitate the journey for couples aiming to build their life together in the United State. Getting married abroad does not hinder the possibility of living together in the United States. Armed with the right information and preparation, U.S. citizens can legally bring their non-U.S. citizen spouses to the country, initiating a new chapter in their lives together.