Generally, you, as the petitioner, have to be a US citizen and your boyfriend wishes to enter the United States solely to marry you in the US.
You must first file the appropriate documentation with USCIS and the main form used as of this writing is the I-129F.
USCIS will want to ensure: you both intend to marry each other within 90 days of his entry after using the K-1 visa; that you both have the legal ability to marry each other; and that you both have previously met in person within two years of filing the petition.
USCIS will want to know if you, as the petitioner, have committed certain crimes related to domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, child neglect, certain violent crimes, stalking, and certain crimes relating to a controlled substance or call.
The US consulate will always want to know about your boyfriend’s criminal history so any criminal history for either of you should be discussed with a lawyer.
Once USCIS approves the initial I-129F petition, the petition is valid for 4 months and the process moves to the US Department of State for consulate processing.
If the consulate approves your boyfriend for the K-1 visa, he may enter the United States during the visa’s validity period which is normally six months.
Once he enters the United States you both must marry in 90 days for him to be able to finally adjust his status to that of a permanent resident (green card holder).
The adjustment of status to permanent residency form is the I-485. When filing this he will also want to apply for employment authorization as well as a travel document so that he may work and travel while the process is being completed.
Normally the adjustment of status will happen before you and your boyfriend have been married for two years.
This means the government puts a condition or a requirement on your permanent residency. The requirement is that you both sign and pay for another petition, the I-751.
This must happen within the 90-day time period of your boyfriend’s two-year anniversary as a permanent resident.
For example, if your boyfriend becomes a permanent resident on January 1, 2020 then you must file the petition to remove the conditions of residency sometime between October 3, 2021 and January 1, 2022.
To ensure you file the petition your boyfriend’s green card will only be valid for two years instead of 10 years.
There may or may not be an easier way than the K-1 so be sure to discuss it with a lawyer.
If you have any questions regarding immigration, please feel free to call me, immigration attorney Shawn Mesa at (813) 679-5780.
Disclaimer: This information is provided as a public service and not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Any reliance on this information is taken at your own risk.