May 18, 2021

A marriage visa to an American or permanent resident can lead to the green card or green card for the right to reside in the United States.

Obtaining a Green Card visa by marriage can be done through three different processes. The K-3 nonimmigrant visa allows the foreign national to enter the United States and then apply for a green card once in the territory. The IR-1 / CR-1 immigrant visa is the equivalent of a green card and is granted by US consulates abroad. Finally, the non-American spouse can apply for a Green Card while already present in the United States via the “adjustment of status” procedure.

The application must demonstrate the following criteria:

Be married to a US citizen or permanent resident.

The non-American spouse resides outside the United States.

The child of the foreign national applying for the K-4 visa is under 21 (and under 18 at marriage if the in-laws want to petition for the child in the future)

Marriage must be in good faith, and not for the purpose of obtaining a Green Card. For this, you must provide evidence of an existing and continuing relationship.

The non-U.S. Spouses must not have a criminal record (which would make them ineligible for an immigrant visa), or a history of fraud, false testimony, or other wrongdoing. However, if this is the case, the person can apply for a waiver of their grounds for ineligibility before obtaining an immigrant visa for the United States.

Once obtained, the spouse can enter the United States and is entitled to apply for a green card once present in the United States, namely to file a file for adjustment of status within a reasonable period of time following his arrival, in order to become a permanent resident. The child of the holder of the K-3 visa can obtain a K-4 visa if he or she is under 21 (under 18 at the time of marriage if it is a child by step), otherwise, a separate application must be submitted for this child.

Subsequently, the foreign national will obtain a conditional Green Card valid for 2 years if, at the time of approval of the application to the American immigration services the couple have been married for less than 2 years and must be renew 2 year green card If, on the other hand, the couple has been married for more than 2 years at the time of approval of the application, the foreign national will obtain a permanent green card which must be renewed every 10 years.


Work authorization may be granted to holders of K-3 and K-4 visas before applying for adjustment of status in the United States.

Temporary visa by marriage (K-3)

Obtaining a K-3 visa through marriage to an American citizen gives the holder the right to enter the United States as a spouse and then obtain a green card. (Green Card) following the status adjustment request.


The K-3 visa application process begins with sending the appropriate forms to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. After a few months, when this request is approved, the file is transferred to the National Visa Center for processing and then to the US Embassy in the country where the non-US spouse resides. 

Immigrant Visa (IR1 or CR1)

As part of this procedure, the non-American spouse will have to apply for permanent residence abroad, via the American embassy located in his country of residence.


Unlike adjustment of status, the immigrant visa process for the United States is a two-step process. The first step is to file an application green card, the petition for alien Relative, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which takes several months to approve. The second step is to send all necessary documents and application fees to the National Visa Center, which then forwards the file to the appropriate US Embassy for an interview with the candidate.


The foreign national can also obtain a Green Card immigrant visa through marriage to a US citizen (or permanent resident if a visa is available). The request must demonstrate:


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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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