You are here in the United States on a fiancée visa that has been granted to
you by the United States Embassy or Consulate in your home country or the country in which you regularly reside.
You are now ready to start your new life in the United States.
The first step is that you must marry the fiancée named on the fiancée visa in your passport within
ninety(90) days of your entry on that fiancée visa into the United States.
Even after you marry, if you look at your fiancée visa, you will see an expiration date on the
visa itself. After that date, you are out of status, and must take steps to obtain lawful permanent residence, sometimes referred to as a “green card” or “green card holder”.
Lawful Permanent Residence, to be precise, is a status, not exactly the same as the “green card” which simply reflects the status.
In order to maintain your status, you should immediately take steps to process an application for lawful permanent residence, as the regulations require that you do so.
The first step is fill out and complete an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative and also an I-485, an Application for Adjustment of Status, as well as G-325A biographic forms. In addition, affidavits of support along with supporting tax returns must be submitted as well(these are forms I-864 and I-864A, if needed, or in some cases, multiple I-864’s). These forms along with all required evidence must be sent to the appropriate United States Citizenship and Immigration Services(USCIS), Service Center, with the proper filing fees. After USCIS receives your applications, you will receive receipts and the processing begins. If additional information is required USCIS, will require you to provide that information, in order for your application to proceed. This request(s) is called a Request For Evidence(RFE), and must be properly responded to, or your applications may be rejected or denied.
After all of the evidence has been received, your case will be transferred to your local District Office, where an interview may be scheduled. At the interview, the interviewing Officer(often called the Adjudicating Officer in Adjustment of Status), will ask you and your spouse questions about your relationship to make certain that your relationship is real, and that all of the other requirements of admission to the United States as a lawful permanent resident have been met, not the least of which, is meeting the income requirements for public charge, to prove that you or your spouse will not become a charge of the United States government, and also that any prior marriages have been validly ended with a divorce decree from a Court of competent jurisdiction.
As you will understand by now, there is a lot to obtaining a green card/lawful permanent residence.
Once the green card is issued to you or your spouse, it will be a Conditional Resident Card, since at the time of granting, you will not have been married for two(2) years.
Therefore, at the end of the two year period following the grant of the green card, you must apply to have the conditions lifted by filing form I-751 with USCIS, and you and your spouse must both file the application, with proof that your marriage is valid and not a sham from its beginning(inception).
Once the I-751 has been granted, your or your spouse will have a 10 year green card/lawful permanent residence status. So long as the new lawful permanent resident obeys the laws of the United States, that status may be renewed indefinitely, while the Lawful Permanent Resident maintains a permanent residence here in the United States.
The next step would be for the Lawful Permanent Resident to file for United States Citizenship.
In order to apply you must fill out and file form N-400 with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services(USCIS) at the appropriate service center, with the then current governmental filing fees.
To become a U.S. citizen, you or your lawful permanent resident spouse, must have had the green card for at least 3 years, and you must remain married to the person through whom you obtained your green card for that three year period, through the date of your swearing in as a US citizen.
The person applying must also have at least 50% of the last 3 years physically present in the United States; must be a person of Good Moral Character, and must pass both the test of English language competence and U.S. history test. If the person applying meets all the requirements of the law, he or she will be interviewed, and if that person passes the literacy and history tests, will be approved to be sworn in. The applying person is sworn in as a US citizen at a public ceremony, and is NOT a US citizen until actually sworn in by a U.S. government official authorized by law.
All of these applications and the law and regulations that apply to them, are complex, as well as the evidence required to obtain approval.
Therefore, it is always best to hire a qualified attorney to assist you in obtaining the best results.
Visa shops are not licensed. They are only interested in making money and their bottom line.
An attorney is required by license and ethics to represent you and do everything in his/her power to obtain the best results for you.