Harrington Law Offices, Immigration Lawyers
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Boston, Massachusetts, Immigration Law Blog

Engaged to a non-citizen? You need a fiancé visa

Planning to marry is an exciting time, but it can also be a complex time for a couple in which one is a citizen of the United States and one is not. When engaged to a person who is not currently a citizen, you would be wise to know how to bring your fiancé here and to do so with the necessary visas in place.

Immigration is a hot topic at the moment, but you do not have to let fear or misunderstanding hold you back from accomplishing your objectives. If you need to get your non-citizen fiancé into the country and reunited with you in Massachusetts in order to get married, you need to know how the fiancé visa process works.

Don't let fear keep you from beginning the citizenship process

The desire to become a citizen of the United States hits many individuals every year. You, like many others, have likely lived in the country for an extended period of time and have come to consider this nation home. However, you may still feel as if your lack of citizenship has kept you from feeling completely at home. This feeling does not have to last forever as you may have the opportunity to go through the naturalization process in order to obtain citizenship.

In order to complete the process, you must go through several steps. Though the idea of taking the first steps toward citizenship may seem intimidating, you may feel a great sense of accomplishment once you come out on the other side.

These are your options after a deportation order

If you've been told you have to leave the United States due to your status as an immigrant, you go through the deportation process. Deportation is just another word for removal. It's a formal process, and the end result is that you must return to your country of origin. If you violate U.S. immigration laws, this is likely.

Although this process seems frightening, you are not without rights. In fact, you have the right to appeal the decision to deport you, and you have the right to apply for readmission after you go through a deportation.

Are you and your spouse facing a Stokes interview?

One way to obtain a green card is to marry someone who is already a United States citizen. The vast majority of these unions are legitimate, legal marriages based on mutual love, respect and shared values. However, because some immigrants have entered into sham marriages simply to get the coveted status of legal permanent resident, immigration officials have devised ways to ferret out these fraudulent marriages.

One of these processes is known as a Stokes interview. If you and your spouse are suspected of being in a sham marriage, you will receive notice to appear - together, and with certain documents - for an interview with immigration officials.

The employment-based immigration program

If you have been following our blog you know that there are three scenarios in which families can apply for a green card to obtain residency in the United States. In addition to family-based entry, foreign-born citizens may enter this country through their means of employment.

Each year, the United States sets aside 140,000 visas for those applicants in the employment-based immigration program. Preferences are made for those with high levels of education and developed skill sets. There are five levels of employment preferences that the government uses to categorize applicants. In addition to certifying education and career background, many immigrants need to have either labor certification or a job offer in the United States.

Three ways families can legally enter the United States

Immigration law in the United States allows for both citizens and legal permanent residents to petition for entry on behalf of their relatives who live in other countries. While it is generally easier for immediate relatives of US citizens to obtain visas, spouses and unmarried children of green card holders are also eligible. Different rules apply depending upon the petitioner's status and the status of the person wishing to gain entry, and it is important to understand these differences before filing.

Immediate relative petitions

United States citizens can petition for green cards on behalf of their spouses and their unmarried children who are under the age of 21. If petitioners are older than 21, they may also sponsor their parents. Immediate relative petitions are not subject to the waiting period for available visa numbers. Instead, there is an unlimited number of green cards in this category. It is important to note that an immediate relative petition applies only to the person seeking entry, and separate petitions must be filed for that person's spouse or children. Legal permanent residents of the United States cannot file immediate relative petitions.

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