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How fiancé and spousal green cards differ from other green cards

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2024 | Family Immigration |

Getting married is often treated as a lifelong commitment. Spouses agree to support one another regardless of changes to their economic circumstances or health. They usually live together and may raise a family together. Some people have an easy time beginning their lives together, while others must go through a lengthy legal process due to living in different countries. If someone falls in love with an individual from another country, they may need to look into immigration opportunities.

It could be possible for a United States citizen to bring a fiancé or spouse from another country to live in the United States lawfully. A K-1 or fiancé visa can allow someone to enter the country to get married. Once they officialize their marriage, the foreign national spouse could potentially qualify for a green card. Someone who already married a foreign national can apply for a green card on behalf of their spouse.

How does a green card secured through marriage or engagement differ from other green cards issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)?

Marriage-based green cards are conditional

Green cards are the official USCIS documents that show people are lawful permanent residents. A standard green card allows someone to legally live in the United States for 10 years before they have to renew their paperwork with the USCIS.

A marriage-based green card granted to someone’s international spouse or their fiancé who entered the country to marry them does not last for 10 years. Unless the marriage had already lasted for two years when someone applied for a green card, their status as a permanent resident is conditional upon the continuation of their marriage.

The immigrant spouse can apply to remove the conditions from their green card after approximately two years of marriage. Doing so allows them to upgrade to a standard green card that is not contingent on them remaining married. If someone who enters the country for marriage or through marriage divorces before they reach that two-year mark, their status as a permanent resident could be at risk.

Learning more about the rules that apply to fiancé visas and green cards for newly married adults can benefit those with a loved one in another country. New spouses married to United States citizens can potentially become permanent residents if they follow the right process.