Marriage-Based Immigration: Your Basic Options

Immigration can be complicated, and everyone's path is a little different. Still, there are  three main options for obtaining Permanent Residence for your loved one through marriage. Most marriage-based immigration applicants will use one of the following routes:

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  • K-1 Fiance Visa - Apply for a visa abroad and get married in the U.S. A good option for a foreign fiance who can wait some time before coming to the U.S.
  • Immigrant Visa Processing - While this can be one of the most flexible options for Permanent Residence for a foreign spouse, it requires that you are married before even starting the immigration process.
  • Adjustment of Status to Permanent Residence (One-Step Sponsorship & Permanent Residence) - This is generally available for a foreign spouse or fiance already in the U.S. While this can place travel restrictions on a foreign spouse, it is a fast route to stay together in the U.S.

Streff Legal can help you determine which option is the best for you and guide you through the process. Some foreign nationals may have other options available. Streff Legal can also help with more complicated cases that involve complicated travel needs, require a waiver, or have other immigration issues of concern, such as past immigration violations, lack of status, or criminal history.


Okay, So How Do We Get Started?

Some people handle their marriage-based paperwork with no problem. If you want to do so, please ensure that you get your information from official sources. Your best resource is the official website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS page on petitions for a spouse is here at www.uscis.gov. If you plan to assemble your marriage-based application on your own, please ensure you carefully follow the instructions on form I-130, and possibly forms I-485, I-765, and I-131.

You can usually trust websites with the .gov domain. Be wary of blogs or other websites that are not connected with a government entity or another reliable sources, such as an attorney or an established non-profit. For those applying for Permanent Residence from outside the U.S. (e.g. K-1 visa, Immigrant Visa Processing), visit the website of the U.S. embassy/consulate in the country from which you are applying. A list of U.S. embassy official websites are located at www.usembassy.gov.

Do We Need an Attorney to Help?

The answer to that question is going to be different for everyone. Certainly, having an skilled attorney help you is the best option and can prevent problems down the road. That said, we attorneys cost money. In thinking about whether to hire an attorney consider these factors:

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  • Stress - With an attorney you don't have to worry if you missed a document of forgot to check a box on your forms. We attorneys and our staff have done this many times.
  • Prevent Problems - Attorneys know what to watch for, and an attorney who knows your case can handle problems quickly.
  • Notices - The US Postal Service will not forward immigration documents. An attorney will make sure you don't miss an appointment while you're away. Missing an appointment or other notice can result in a denial. Missed notices are one of the most common causes of significant problems.
  • Interviews - Marriage-based cases almost always require an interview with an immigration officer. Be confident at your interview. Attorneys can be present with you at interviews in the U.S. or can counsel you on how to best handle the interview at the consulate. Interviews can make a big difference in case approval.
  • Cost - Yes, attorneys are expensive. Streff Legal provides cost-effective service, including
    • Payment plans to spread costs over time
    • Discount rates for students and veterans
    • Preferred service rates for long term clients, referrals from our trusted clients, and employer referrals
    • Income-considered fee structures

Schedule a Free Immigration Consultation for You and Your Loved One

Read more about your options and what Streff Legal has to offer below, or just go ahead and schedule a legal consult. Streff Legal loves helping loved ones find an immigration solution, so we offer free consults for marriage-based and loved-based cases. You can either:



CALL 612-399-6787

One Thing to Remember...

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If you're in love, or think you might be in love, or, well, you get the idea...

It's okay to make some changes to your plans because of immigration. For instance, many couples have a civil marriage and celebrate with family and friends at a different time because of immigration. Streff Legal can work with you to find the best option based on when you want to get married, where you want to live, where you and your loved one work, and other factors. That's one major advantage to working with a professional: we can work together to give you the flexibility you need to live your lives according to your plans, not the long waits and frustrating setbacks often involved in the immigration process.

The Plan: How Streff Legal Can Help You


Streff Legal offers full-service representation for a competitive price. The plan is simple: you get full access to attorney advice for any questions you have about your marriage-based case. You will have an attorney to guide you through many pitfalls, various government agencies, and potential delays in the immigration process.

Working with an attorney, you will gain many benefits.

Peace of Mind Marriage is complicated already. Let an experienced attorney handle immigration, so you can focus on your relationship, your life plans, and your family. With Streff Legal, you can trust your attorney will handle any problems that might occur in the immigration process. With professional guidance, you don't have to worry about whether you missed a document, or checked the wrong box on a form. We will take care to ensure you have a thorough and complete petition and application.

No Stress Streff Legal will make the process easy for you, keeping track of the all of the documents and information you need. We have handled more marriage-based cases than we care to count, so we know how to make the process move along smoothly. We will draft the forms, make sure your documents meet government requirements, assemble your petition and application, track progress, receive notices, and ensure that you make all the important dates. So, no stress.

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Be Confident at Your Interview  Marriage-based cases almost always require an interview. The interview can be one of the most difficult parts of the process, and can be very intimidating. The interview is often the most important factor in determining the success of your application/petition. Streff Legal will help coach you and/or your loved one through the interview so that you are comfortable and confident, whether the interview is here in the U.S. or at a U.S. consulate abroad. Preparation is everything, and having someone on your side who knows the process can make a world of difference. If you adjust status in the United States, a Streff Legal attorney will also be able to join you at the immigration office.

Prevent problems before they arise. Streff Legal will give you careful attention and experience in dealing with common issues in the Permanent Residence process. A careful and meticulous attorney can ensure that we address many problems before the Immigration Service starts to ask questions. If any issues do arise, you will have a professional who already knows your case and who is ready to respond immediately.

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A Simple, Affordable Plan: Streff Legal will work with you to develop a payment plan that will fit your budget. A typical plan would include an affordable up-front amount with monthly payments that typically last a year (but probably won't be too different from your cable or phone bill). Discounts are available for students, veterans, and special circumstances.

Streff Legal implements technology and best-in-profession business practices to provide you experienced, full-service representation at affordable rates.

Schedule a Free Consult

Schedule a time below or call 612-399-6787 if you would like to speak to a receptionist to schedule your appointment.

**Please make sure you receive an e-mail confirming the time. Otherwise, please call 612-399-6787 to reschedule.