How Will Marriage Affect My Petition? Part I

How Will Marriage Affect My Petition? Part I

Many people ask what would happen to their petition if they got married.  In this article, I will discuss how marriage could greatly affect the validity of the petition or the waiting time for a visa.

When it comes to marriage, I’ve often said, “If you love them, don’t marry them.”  Let’s go through various situations so you can see how the marriage of the beneficiary could affect a petition:

  1. Marriage voids a petition by a lawful permanent resident (LPR) parent of their single son or daughter. (Category F-2A or F-2B).  It does not matter if you were single at the time the petition was filed or married later on.  You must remain single up until the time you receive your green card.  I have seen many tragic situations where people got married but claimed it was “secret” or thought it would not be recorded.  There’s no such thing as secret marriages, except from the parents, and typically marriage contracts are recorded and found by the embassy.
  1. An F-2B petition could still be valid if the beneficiary married after the petitioner naturalized. In some cases, the timing of the parent’s naturalization or the child’s marriage could affect the validity of the petition.  As I already said, if the beneficiary marries while the parent is still an LPR, the petition is void.  However, if the petitioner naturalizes before the child’s marriage, then the petition would convert upon the petitioner’s naturalization to F-1 (which is a single child of a U.S. citizen) and then, upon marriage, converts to F-3.  However, the petition remains alive, and the original priority date is intact.  Simply put, was the parent a U.S. citizen on the child’s wedding day?  If the beneficiary marries before their parent’s naturalization, the petition is void.  This leads me to the next rule concerning marriage and petitions.
  1. Marriage converts a petition by a U.S. citizen parent from IR, or F-1, to F-3. If a child is petitioned by a U.S. citizen parent as a minor (under 21 years of age) or F-1 (single adult child), and that child marries, the petition converts to F-3, which is a married child of a U.S. citizen.  The child retains the original priority date, but now the waiting time for a visa could be 10 or 15 additional years.
    1. If a person is really anxious to get married and their priority date is just about current as single, it may be better and faster to first obtain the visa or green card as single, then marry your partner and petition your partner in the F-2A category.

In a future article, I will discuss more situations where a beneficiary’s marriage could affect their petition.  As you can see, marriage can have a significant impact on a petition, which includes voiding the petition, increasing the waiting time, speeding up the waiting time, etc.  If you have any questions or issues about a beneficiary marrying, I would strongly suggest that you consult with an attorney, and obviously it should be before you walk down the aisle.



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