If I marry my boyfriend, how long with it take to get my citizenship? 13 Answers as of May 18, 2012

I am an Hong Kong Citizen. My Boyfriend is a from US. He moved to Hong Kong for work 2 years ago, he has a Hong Kong ID and working Visa. Now we are planning a marriage in the States and living there for good. My US Visa is due to 2016. I would like to know how long does it take to get me a US citizenship? And will my boyfriend get a Hong Kong citizenship if we marry in the US?

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Law Offices of Brian D. Lerner, A PC
Law Offices of Brian D. Lerner, A PC | Brian David Lerner
*Fiancee Petition or K3 Spouse Petition* A Fiance Petition needs to be prepared. This is a petition that will allow your fiance to come to the U.S. in a relatively short period of time. Usually, it takes around 6 to 9 months for the petition to be approved at immigration in the United States. Subsequently, the approval would be sent to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your fiance's home country. When your fiance comes to the U.S., you will have ninety days to get married. Our firm can prepare the entire Fiance Petition and make it so it goes smoothly and correctly. You have to have physically seen your Fiance in the last two years. Alternatively, a K-3 Petition can be prepared. This is where you will marry your fiance or have already married outside of the U.S., and then the petition can be approved in three to four months for your then spouse to enter the U.S. Upon entry to the U.S., it would be possible to then prepare and file the Adjustment of Status application. Both the K-1 and the K-3 visas take about the same time.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/18/2012
World Esquire Law Firm
World Esquire Law Firm | Aime Katambwe
I don't know about Chinese/Hong-Kong law but assuming your boyfriend kept his domicile intact here in the US, then once you marry him it should not take more than 6 months (but most likely 3 to 4 months) to get conditional residency in the US. If you remain married to him 3 years from the time you get residency, then you can apply for citizenship.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/18/2012
Mayo Mallette PLLC
Mayo Mallette PLLC | Thomas J. Rosser
After you have completed either immigrant visa (IV) consular processing (through US Consulate in Hong Kong since you both are within the consular district's jurisdiction and have resided within same for at least six months) or adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident (as the spouse of a USC) you will be required to remain in lawful permanent resident status (LPR) for a minimum of three years from the initial issuance of your "green card" before you may qualify to apply for US citizenship (via an I-400 naturalization process which usually takes an additional year at best). There are potential visa complications relating to your plans to marry in the US as opposed to marriage in Hong Kong prior to returning to the US which you will want to explore. You may wish to engage immigration counsel to guide you through the process under either scenario (consular processing in Hong Kong or adjustment of status once in the US).
Answer Applies to: Mississippi
Replied: 5/16/2012
Law Offices of Svetlana Boukhny
Law Offices of Svetlana Boukhny | Svetlana Boukhny
Before you can become a US citizen, you need to be a US permanent resident (green card holder) for at least 3 years. To get that status, your US citizen boyfriend has to marry you and petition you for an immigrant visa. Once you get that visa and enter the US, you will be a permanent resident. As far as passing on Hong Kong citizenship upon your future husband, that is not US immigration law but Hong Kong/Chinese immigration law so you will need to consult with an immigration attorney there.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/16/2012
Elkhalil Law Firm, LLC
Elkhalil Law Firm, LLC | Hassan Elkhalil
I do not know if your husband will get a Hong Kong citizenship if you marry in the U.S., you need to ask an immigration attorney in Hong Kong. As to your U.S. question, you have two choices: 1- if you marry in the U.S. you will file your petition while you are in the U.S. and remain in the U.S. at least until you receive your legal permanent residency; it may take about three years during which you may not be able to leave the U.S. The other option, is to file your petition at the embassy and do consular processing, you will receive your green card when you arrive at the airport; in this case you have to stay outside of the U.S. until your immigrant visa is processed even if you have a valid visa. If you try to enter the US on your visitor visa while the immigrant visa petition is pending, the border patrol may cancel your visitor visa and send you back. After you receive your green card, you count three years before you are eligible to apply for citizenship.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 5/16/2012
    Lisa E. Battan, P.C. | Lisa Battan
    A person must be a lawful permanent residence for five years and meet other eligibility requirements to apply for U.S. citizenship. A resident who is married and living with her U.S. citizen spouse can apply after three years of residence.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 5/16/2012
    Law Offices of Grinberg and Segal
    Law Offices of Grinberg and Segal | Alexander Segal
    I cannot answer the questions regarding citizenship in Hong Kong if you marry as I do not practice law in Hong Kong. As for your questions regarding U.S. citizenship, the answer depends. The first step is to receive permanent residence. This takes approximately 8 months to a year after you are married and your husband petitions for you. Once you are a resident, you can petition for citizenship after 3 or 5 years depending upon whether you are still married at the time you file. It is important for you to keep in mind how you intend to get status in the U.S. You cannot use a non-immigrant visa to enter the U.S. with the intent to marry. You should consider seeking a K-1 visa if you intend to enter the country for the purposes of marrying and remaining in the U.S.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/16/2012
    Law Offices of David Stoller, PA | David H. Stoller
    I would suggest that speaking to a qualified US attorney would be the best way to go here. If your plan on coming to the US to get married, you should look into the fiance visa (K-1). Although you may be eligible to come to the US as a tourist, you do not want to run into a problem at the airport where you attempt admission as a tourist only to run into a Customs and Border Protection officer who finds the fact that you plan on coming to the US and remaining to be inconsistent with your request for admission as a tourist. While no one can tell you what will happen when you come to the US, I would be very careful about attempting to make sure that there are not any issues brought forth to the CBP officer upon your arrival in the US. A fiance visa takes about 6-12 months to complete. And if you get moving on the application now, you could have it done to coincide with your wedding plans. Again, coming to the US on a tourist visa may also work, but keep in mind that the legal definition (under US law) of a tourist does not include individuals looking to come to the US, marry and to permanently reside here. Different attorneys will tell you lots of different stories, but my advice is to always be up front with the immigration authorities and that way no one has any questions about your intentions. On the issue of immigration to Hong Kong, I do not know anything about that legal issue and I would refer you to a law firm in Hong Kong that handles such issues. Just make sure that you understand what you are doing and any potential consequences and I think that you and your fiance will be very happy. Keeping everything above board is the way to go and in cases like this, you do not want the setback of some miscommunication at the border/airport to create issues with you and your spouse being together.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/16/2012
    Frazier, Soloway & Poorak, P.C.
    Frazier, Soloway & Poorak, P.C. | David Nabow Soloway
    In general, one must become a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident for 5 years before becoming eligible to petition to become a naturalized U.S. citizen; the 5-year period is reduced to three years in most instances for spouses of U.S. Citizens. Your question raises potential problems about your plan to become married in the U.S. with some sort of visa that is "due to 2016." If it is your intention to enter the U.S. to get married and then ultimately to reside permanently in the U.S., you are not permitted to enter with a visitor's visa - that is exclusively for someone who intends to enter temporarily and then return abroad, and misuse of a visitor's visa can create very significant problems, including assumptions about visa fraud. It would be wise to work with an immigration attorney to discuss possibilities for a fiance visa and the, after getting married within the required time, applying to adjust status to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (to get a "Green Card"). Some immigration law firms, including mine, offer legal services on a "flat fee" basis so that a client will know the total expense from the very beginning, and a few immigration law firms, including mine, offer an initial consultation free of charge. Regarding your question about how the man you intend to marry may become a citizen of Hong Kong, you should consult with an immigration attorney in Hong Kong.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/16/2012
    Richard S. Kolomejec, Attorney at Law
    Richard S. Kolomejec, Attorney at Law | Richard S. Kolomejec
    If you enter the US as a tourist, don't get married too soon. I would recommend waiting 30 to 60 days. Also, you should consult an experienced immigration attorney before getting married. The process if done correctly only takes about 3 months from start to finish. And make sure that the marriage proposal takes place in the USso there is no preconceived intent upon entry.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/16/2012
    Law Office of Pho Ethan Tran PLLC
    Law Office of Pho Ethan Tran PLLC | Pho Ethan Tran
    If you are already in the US on a visa, you can apply for your residency through adjustment of status on Form I-485. It's currently taking about 4-6 months for immigration to process your paperwork before you are scheduled for your adjustment interview at the nearest immigration office to your home in the US. If you are not in the US, your husband must submit a petition for you on Form I-130. It's currently taking about 9-12 months for immigration to process your paperwork through this method before you will be scheduled for your visa interview at the US Consulate. If you remain married to the petitioner and have been a resident for at least 2 years and 9 months, you can then apply for your citizenship.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 5/16/2012
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu | Mengjun Qiu
    You have to get permanent residency first. After you receive it, you're a conditional permanent resident for 2 years. If at that point you're still married, you can proceed to remove the condition, and you will be eligible to apply for citizenship a year after. So, from the day you receive permanent residence and stay married the whole time, 3 years. If you get divorced while you're a conditional resident, your sponsor (your current boy friend, or future ex husband) will have to sign a petition so that you can remove the condition. After that, you will be eligible to apply for citizenship in 3 years. Word of advice: ingressing the US with a non-immigrant visa, get married here, and file papers to become a permanent resident while you're staying with the non-immigrant visa will automatically raise the presumption of fraud. It doesn't mean that you're doomed, it only means that they will look a lot harder into your case.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/16/2012
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