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US Permanent Residence
These visa categories are open to people who are contemplating marriage (i.e. already engaged) or those already married to American citizens. Options also exist but are more limited for foreign nationals who are married to lawful permanent residents (LPR’s) of the United States.
Fiancées of American citizens are potentially eligible for a K-1 Fiancée Visa. This is a nonimmigrant visa that allows for entry to the United States and a subsequent application for adjustment of status to permanent residence, based upon marriage within 90 days after entering the U.S. in this visa category. Whether one applies as a K-1 or waits to get married first and be petitioned as a spouse, will depend upon many factual considerations including country of citizenship of the intending immigrant and specific marriage plans.
Foreign nationals who are married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident can be petitioned and subsequently apply for permanent residence at a U.S. Consulate abroad. In Canada, the U.S. Consulate in Montreal is responsible for these petitions. Proof of a bona fide marriage and adequate financial support are necessary. In addition, those married to American citizens who apply from abroad are also eligible to enter the United States in a nonimmigrant status (i.e. as a K-3 nonimmigrant), which allows them to reside in the U.S. as a nonimmigrant, at an earlier date than would otherwise be possible without such an application. Separate petitions and subsequent applications are required for K-3 status.
Finally, for those foreign nationals, including Canadian citizens, who lawfully enter the United States and are married to American citizens, can apply to adjust their permanent residence status.
Where to Apply
With the exception of adjustment of status applications, initial petitions are required for all of the above noted categories, to be filed at specified BCIS Regional Service Centres, depending upon the place of residence of the petitioner (i.e. U.S. sponsor). Other centres are designated for K-3 petition.
Upon approval of petitions, all family-based applicants who are citizens of Canada, permanent residents of Canada or who have longer-term temporary resident status in Canada, are processed through the U.S. Consulate in Montreal. Personal interviews are ultimately required.
Adjustment of status applicants in the United States must apply at designated local offices, depending upon the place of residence of their U.S. citizen petitioner spouse.
How can Mamann, Sandaluk & Kingwell LLP help?
If you have a loved one in the United States who you are planning to marry, or have married, it is vital to determine the best option for you to be reunited as quickly as possible. We can help you make that decision based on all of the information including changes in processing that occur from time to time.
Once the decision is made, we can help ensure that the application package filed, both in the United States and in Consulates, is in accordance with requirements to avoid any delays. We also respond to any BCIS Regional Service Centre or Consular enquiries for further documentation and prepare spouses and fiancées for interviews.
Speak to an immigration professional at Mamann, Sandaluk & Kingwell LLP about your US business immigration needs, and they can help you develop a customized immigration strategy tailored for your specific circumstances and US immigration needs!