Being separated from family members for long periods of time can be difficult, but being separated from a significant other can feel unbearable. Even though immigration laws regarding visas and green cards can be a complicated and oftentimes concerning issue for some families, the process of bringing a spouse or fiancé into the United States can be more straightforward.
Of course, marrying someone is a significant decision that should never be made lightly. The U.S. government takes issues regarding marriage and immigration very seriously, but couples certainly have options if they want to build a life together in the U.S. However, they need to first make sure they qualify for marriage visas.
Qualifications for marriage visas
No matter what type of visa someone wants to get, there are many things to consider when applying. This is still true when it comes to marriage visas. There are a few main things to consider.
· Is one spouse a legal resident or citizen?
Before anything else can be considered, one spouse must be a legal resident or citizen of the U.S. If neither spouse is a legal resident, they will have to apply for a different type of visa.
· Is the marriage real and bona fide?
If a legal resident of the U.S. wants to bring their spouse into the U.S. with them, a marriage visa can generally make that happen. However, the marriage must be real (not just for a green card or marriage visa) and legally recognized by the U.S. If a couple gets married just to get a marriage visa, it is considered a fake/fraudulent marriage and will not be accepted by the U.S. government.
If a couple was married in their home country and their marriage is legally recognized, it will most likely be recognized by the United States as well. As a general rule, a marriage certificate (not just a marriage license) is needed.
Other things to consider
It is important not to confuse an Employment Authorization Document (work permit) for a green card. Just because someone is able to legally work in the U.S. does not mean they are a permanent and legal resident.
It is also important to note that a couple's marriage can qualify them for a marriage visa, but only if their current marriage is their only marriage. Immirgation services will need legal documents proving that any previous marriages legally ended.
These types of issues can become complicated very quickly, but there are people who can help couples through the legal process. If you are considering applying for a marriage visa, it is suggested that you obtain the services of an experienced and knowledgeable legal professional.