The term marriage visa can mean several things in the immigration world. Here are some of the things the term
marriage visa can mean:
Green Card through U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) Spouse
Most people when they talk about a marriage visa simply mean a green card obtained through marriage to a United States citizen or LPR. This kind of marriage visa is not granted automatically on the date of the marriage. Instead, the marriage visa is granted through one of two possible processes.
The first option is for foreign spouses living outside the United States. In these cases, the citizen orLPR spouse files a petition called an I-130 for their foreign spouse. After obtaining all of the necessary documentation, the foreign spouse will attend the marriage visa interview at the United States consulate in his or her home country. Barring any other problems, the marriage visa will be granted and the foreign spouse may travel to the United States. He or she will be admitted to the United States at the airport as an LPR (i.e. with a permanent marriage visa), and will receive the green card in the mail shortly thereafter. Check out the U.S. State Department website to learn more about marriage visas through the U.S. consulates.
The second option is for foreign spouses living inside the United States pursuant to some kind of prior lawful admission (ex: on a visitor visa, business visa, etc.). In these cases, a marriage visa may generally be obtained through a process called adjustment of status. Adjustment of status means that LPR status (i.e. the permanent marriage visa) is granted here in the United States rather than at the consulate in the foreign spouse’s home country. Much like the consular option described above, the citizen or LPR spouse must file an I-130 petition for the foreign spouse. For marriage visas through adjustment of status, there is an important difference in cases depending on whether the petitioning spouse is a U.S. citizen or LPR. If the petitioner is a U.S. citizen, it is generally not an issue if the foreign spouse has overstayed a visa or accepted unauthorized employment. Additionally, there is no waiting period for the marriage visa when the petitioning spouse is a U.S. citizen. When the petitioner is an LPR, the foreign spouse must not have failed to maintain lawful immigration status in the United States and cannot have accepted unauthorized employment. Further, while there is currently no waiting period for a marriage visa when the petitioning spouse is an LPR, this has been known to change. Check out this link to learn more about marriage visas through adjustment of status.
Nonimmigrant Marriage Visa- The K Visa
The foreign fiancé(e) or spouse of a U.S. citizen may also obtain a temporary marriage visa called a K visa. These visas allow the foreign fiancé(e) or spouse to come to the United States and wait here to obtain permanent residency through adjustment of status, rather than waiting in his/her home country. The purpose of the temporary K marriage visa is to avoid long separations between the U.S. citizen and his/her loved one while waiting. Check out the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service website to learn more about K marriage visas for fiancé(es) or spouses of U.S. citizens.