Non-citizens who are married or engaged to be married to citizens or permanent residents can apply to become a U.S. lawful permanent resident with a marriage-based visa or green card. The pathway that is required depends on the current status of the immigrant spouse.
When the immigrant fiancé/fiancée is living outside of the U.S.
The K-1 fiancé/fiancée visa allows the immigrant fiancé/fiancée to enter the country as a condition of the engagement, and it can become a green card after the marriage takes place.
When the immigrant fiancé/fiancée is in the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa
If the non-citizen fiancé/fiancée is in the country on a non-immigrant visa, such as a student or work visa, then he/she may be eligible for a green card upon marriage to the U.S. citizen.
When the immigrant fiancé/fiancée is from a country with a visa waiver agreement
If the non-citizen fiancé/fiancée is in the country for recreation or business and is also from a country that has a visa waiver agreement with the U.S., he/she may be eligible for a green card upon marriage to the U.S. citizen.
When the immigrant fiancé/fiancée is in the U.S. illegally
If the non-citizen fiancé/fiancée is in the country without a valid visa or current residency status, then he/she will likely have to return to his/her home country in order to meet with the U.S. consul and secure a waiver of inadmissibility before a green card granted after marrying a U.S. citizen.
Assistance with marriage-based visas
There are no secrets when it comes to spousal eligibility for immigration. The details are all dictated in the Immigration and Nationality Act. However, the process requires filing a lot of paperwork and mistakes can lead to delays and extra costs.
For that reason, it is wise to work with an experienced immigration lawyer who can make sure that the process can go as smoothly as possible, without unnecessary waits, so that you and your significant other can begin building your new life together in the U.S.