If you are thinking about marrying a person who is not a United State citizen, you should know that this is more common than you might imagine. However, there are many laws regarding this type of marriage. The following are just a few things that may be helpful to you.
Your fiancee or fiance must have entered legally
If your future spouse entered the country illegally, they must leave and enter legally. There was a time when a citizen could marry someone who lived here illegally, and they would automatically be entitled to legal residency. But the laws have changed. Today, the process of entering legally then getting married is not as simple as coming here on a tourist visa. You will need to speak to an immigration attorney for the steps needed, and to get an idea of the time frame you are looking at before both of you can be legally married and living together as man and wife.
Your future spouse has illegal status because of an expired visa
Your fiancee or fiance may be able to stay if they are here illegally because they overstayed their visa. If your fiancee entered the country legally on a visa, such as a student or work visa, they will likely be able to stay, assuming your marriage is deemed as legitimate by the immigration authorities. A marriage that is construed to be one of convenience, one that is solely for the purpose of legal residence in the U.S., will likely result in a rejected application. You are likely to have more success if you have overstayed a student or work visa for a long period of time.
You can sponsor your spouse's immediate relatives
As an American citizen, you can sponsor your wife's or husband's immediate family. The word sponsor means bringing them to this country where they can obtain legal residence. The term immediate relatives has a specific definition as well. This means your wife's husband's children, as long as they are under the age of 21. You can also sponsor your wife's or husband's mother and father. These are the only categories of relatives that can be approved for a green card. It should be noted that once your wife or husband receives her green card, they also have the ability to bring their immediate relatives over as well.
Although you shouldn't feel discouraged about marrying a foreign national, there are many laws regarding the possibilities and limitations for you and your future spouse, and how they relate to the immigration status of your fiancee fiance. A family law attorney with experience in this aspect of the law can give you advice on your particular circumstances.