If you are a U.S. citizen married to a foreign national, it is important to understand your options if you want your spouse to live with you in the U.S. If you got married in another country and spent time living abroad but have decided to return to the states, this process can help safeguard your marriage and allow you to live together.
Some people have the ability to pursue an immigrant visa for their spouse. Depending on your circumstances, you could have to obtain a nonimmigrant visa for your marital partner to head to the U.S. before the issuance of an immigrant visa.
Applying for a nonimmigrant visa
The U.S. Department of State reports that getting a nonimmigrant visa as a spouse (K-3) requires marriage to a U.S. Citizen. You must apply for and receive this visa in the country you got married. After you receive this visa, you can move forward with an immigrant visa (IR1 or CR1).
Heading to the U.S. with a nonimmigrant visa
After receiving a nonimmigrant visa, your spouse can move to the U.S. During this time, you and your spouse can live together while you await immigrant visa processing. It is important to note that you will also have to fill out Form I-130 and Form I-129F.
However, you should note that it can take a significant amount of time to receive a K-3 visa, and immigration often approves Form I-130 at the same time as Form I-129F or beforehand. If this happens, you must apply for an immigrant visa so your spouse can enter the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident.