Sounds funny, doesn’t it? If you are engaged to or marrying or recently married to someone who is either not able to legally be in the United States or who is here on another type of visa for work or tourist visits, etc, you have yourself an alien fiancé or spouse.
A woman I know came to me and asked me what she could do about the fact that her husband is stuck in another country and they haven’t applied for a status adjustment to alien fiancé or to alien spouse yet because they were afraid he’d be sent back to his country until approval. They are young newlyweds and they are very much in love. He had only visited with a tourist visa prior. They met on Facebook, of all places. I met my sweetie online too, so I know it can be love at first sight even miles away through an avatar.
Unfortunately, the adjustment of status or immigration process can be hairy to navigate if you are unaware of the pitfalls and stops that could pop up after you file an application for adjustment. There are financial sponsorship requirements, timing considerations, long waits and other things that can affect whether your new spouse or fiancé will be easily approved to join you in the United States.
Be aware that you will need to seek legal advice to make sure that the facts of your particular situation are combed through so that an attorney can advise you about issues such as potential criminal history, waiting periods, requirements, restrictions, and any other important information that will help you streamline your spouse’s adjustment.
Most people think that if you simply get married, your spouse can live here with you the day you’re married and you just file an application and wait for approval. It isn’t quite that simple, and it can take up to a year or more to get approved.
A petition for alien fiancé status is available and is often the best route when you decide you’re going to marry someone from outside the U.S. It can be quicker and easier, not that the process is ever that quick or that easy. Some people get a tourist visa, then get married, then file an I-130 to adjust status as a sponsor for their spouse but don’t realize that this could raise red flags and result in consequences with immigration officials making decisions about your loved one’s status. In effect, your spouse has lied on the tourist visa (in some cases) because they intended to stay here to get married and were not here to simply visit like they declared.
People do apply for adjusted immigration status on their own, but just beware that legal advice can save you stress and headaches if you don’t know the proper way to navigate the system for optimal ease and success. At least a paid consultation with an attorney well-versed in handling family immigration matters may be well worth the money spent.
This article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice and it does not constitute establishment of an attorney-client relationship with anyone who reads it or an attempt to create an attorney-client relationship. Keep in mind that the law changes frequently based on legislation and case law. If you have a legal issue that relates to this article’s subject matter, please consult with a licensed attorney to determine your individual rights and to clarify the law with respect to your particular set of facts. If you live in another state, please consult a licensed attorney in your state. Dana Boyle is licensed in the state of Wisconsin.