- Fiancée, K1
- K1 Visa – Requirements
- Contact our Immigration Division when Applying for a K-1 Visa
- 9 Steps for Bringing Your Same-sex Fiancé to the U.S
- Fiancé(e) Visa vs Spouse Visa
- Spouse of Permanent Residents
- Comparison ofFiancé(e)Visa vs Spouse Visa
- Which is Faster–Fiancé(e) Versus Spouse Visa
- K-1 Government Filing Fees
- Income Requirement Differences–Marriage Visas
- Marriage-Based Green Cards
- Biometrics Appointment
- Marriage-Based Green Card Interview
- Stokes Interviews
- Tips for Your Interview
- Post Interview Process
- Fiancé(e) vs Spouse Visa Denial
- Your New Social Security Number
- How Our Fiancé(e) and Spouse Visa Attorneys Can Help
- US Visas for Spouses
- If you live outside the US
- If you both already live in the US
- We don't want to be apart for so long. What can we do to avoid this?
- What about my foreign spouse's children?
- We haven't been married very long. Does that matter?
- Our marriage has ended. Can I stay in the US?
- Bringing your Fiance to the US
- Applying for the K-1 visa
- After we get married, will my spouse be allowed to work in the US?
- Can my fiancé(e) work after arriving in the US but before we get married?
- If we don't get married, can my fiancé(e) remain in the US?
- Our petition for a visa was denied. What can we do to appeal the decision?
- The Process for Bringing a Foreign Fiancé to the United States
- Contact a DuPage County Immigration Lawyer
- Bringing a foreign spouse or fiancée to the United States | Vickerstaff Law Office, PSC | Louisville
- Immigrant visas for spouses
- Non-immigrant visas for fiancées
- Obtaining a visa
The K1 visa is a non-immigrant visa for fiancée.
A fiancée is a person who is engaged or contracted to be married.
If you are an American citizen and you want your foreign fiancée to travel to the United States to marry you and live in the U.S., you must file a Petition for Alien Fiancée in the United States.
After the USCIS approves the petition, it sends the petition to National Visa Center for processing, prior to sending it to the embassy or consulate where your fiancé(e) will apply for a K-1 non-immigrant visa for a fiancée.
The K-1 visa allows a fiancé(e) to enter the U.S. one time only. If your fiancée leaves the United States after entering on a K-1 visa, he(she) may not re-enter on the same visa.
K1 Visa – Requirements
- You must be a US citizen.
- The marriage must be legally possible according to laws of the state in the United States where the marriage will take place.
- Both you and your fiancé(e) need to be unmarried. Otherwise, any previous marriages must have ended through divorce, annulment or death.
- In general, the two people must have met in person within the past two years. However, some exceptions apply. If you and your fiancé(e) did not meet personally or used the services of an international marriage broker, you must explain, in detail, how your relationship was established
- The marriage must take place within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the United States. A fiancé(e) may not obtain an extension of the 90-day original admission.
- The fiancé(e) visa petitioner must meet the minimum income requirement.
- Your fiancé(e) must enter the U.S. within six months of receiving the fiancé(e) visa.
After marriage, your spouse must apply to become a permanent resident or to Adjust Status with the USCIS office that serves the area where you live in the United States, if she/he intends to live permanently in the U.S. Your fiancée will receive conditional permanent residence status for two years. After this period you can apply to remove the conditions.
The length of time to process a K-1 application varies from case to case according to its circumstances.
You may also apply to bring your fiancée's unmarried children, who are under age 21, to the U.S. Eligible children receive a K-2 visa.
Contact our Immigration Division when Applying for a K-1 Visa
It is not uncommon for the visa to get delayed because of mistakes done during the application process. If you are considering bringing your foreign fiancée to the U.S.
to marry you contact our immigration attorneys at (407) 500-0000. You can also send us an e-mail at Immigration@NeJameLaw.com or fill out the online form provided on this page.
We have helped thousands of couples in the past and will be very happy to help you too.
9 Steps for Bringing Your Same-sex Fiancé to the U.S
Did you have a romantic rendezvous on your vacation abroad? Have you been chatting with a sexy man on the other side of the world? Long distance relationships can be difficult, even more so if they are international.
If you really want to take your relationship to the next level you and your partner will probably need to live in the same country? Unfortunately, the U.S. does not hand out visitor visas to just anyone. Many single men who come from non industrialized nations have difficulty obtaining visitors or student visas.
They can not hop on a plane for a visit, and those that can visit easily, such as Europeans cannot also work here.
If your new beau is from a country such as the Philippines, or Thailand, China or Cameroon, they need to apply for visa to come to the U.S.
If you were part of a straight couple you could fly to their country get married and apply for a marriage visa the foreign marriage.
Unfortunately, same-sex marriage is not legal in most countries so the next best option is to petition for a fiancée visa so your future spouse can come to the U.S. marry you and then adjust his status that of a lawful permanent resident i.e. get a green card.
The fiancé visa process, most immigration processes, is not quick and can be complicated, an immigration attorney can help you through the process. I’ve outlined the general steps below.
Step 1: Meet your Fiancé in Person Some of you may have met your new boyfriend on a trip abroad, but these days many gay and lesbians start relationships online regardless of location. However, the U.S. government requires that you prove that you have met your fiancé in person AND within the last two years.
The only exceptions are for religious reasons or exceptional circumstances such as a serious medical condition that prevents you from traveling outside of the country.
It’s probably better for the relationship anyway that you’ve met your fiancé in person before you spend all the time, money, and emotional energy required for this process.
Step 2: Gather evidence of your relationship and other required documents. It is not enough to put your fiancé’s name on a petition, you will need to convince the U.S. government that your relationship is genuine and that you’ve met within the last two years.
This can be done by gathering photos of the two of you together, plane tickets or itineraries, passport stamps showing your recent visit.
Screenshots of text messages, chats, emails, actual letters or postcards, hotel receipts, love letters, declarations from friends or family who know about your relationship or any other document you think shows that your more than acquaintances.
In addition to the relationship evidence you will also need to prove you are a U.S. Citizen. This can be done with a copy of your U.S. Birth Certificate, U.S. Passport I.D. Page , Naturalization Certificate of Certificate of Citizenship.
Step 3: File a Fiancé Petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services . To begin the process, you, the U.S.
Citizen must file form I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé with USCIS and include the evidence mentioned above, a passport photo of you and your fiancé and a check or money order made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for $535.00.
It is not required to have an attorney when filing immigration petitions, but it is recommended for those who do not have a thorough understanding U.S. immigration laws and the complicated process.
Step 4: Be Prepared for a long wait. The current processing time for fiancée petitioners are about five months and this is only for the petition part of the process. The National Visa Center and Embassy part may take several more months. In some cases the fiancé visa process alone may take over a year.
Step 5: Begin processing at the National Visa Center. After your petition is approved by the USCIS, your case will be transferred to the National Visa Center. They will work with the US.
Consulate in your fiancé’s country to coordinate the rest of the process. Each U.S. Consulate has their own way of doing things but generally require the same steps. The first step is to complete a visa application online.
It is called the DS160 and asks general questions about personal, work, U.S. immigration and criminal history.
Step 6: Pay Visa Fees at Local Bank Your fiancé will then be directed to pay fees at a local bank which has a contract with the U.S. Consulate to accept visa fees. Currently $385.00
Step 7: Obtain a Police Certificate, Medical Exam and Proof of USC Fiancé’s Income. Your fiancé will need to request a police certificate that explains that he has no criminal record or if he does, then he will need to get certified records for any arrests or convictions.
Please note they may affect his ability to obtain a visa. He will also need a medical exam done by an Embassy approved doctor. HIV is no longer an inadmissibility factor. Information on how to obtain these documents is provided on the U.S. Consulate websites.
You will also need to send your fiancé a form I-134 Affidavit of Support along with your recent tax return and W2s to show that you have the income to sponsor him. In general you should make at least 125% of the poverty guidelines for your house hold size.
If you are single with no children that should be about $20,300/ year or more.
Step 8: Your fiancé will attend an Interview at the U.S. Consulate. Eventually your fiancé will need to attend an interview at the U.S. Consulate where the consular officer will ask about your relationship.
If your fiancé is closeted and shy about discussing his same-sex relationship, he may need some practice before hand. This is not the time to be discreet.
General questions are about how the two of you met, how long you’ve been dating, when you plan to marry and what kind of evidence have you brought to support your case.
Step 9: If the fiancé visa is approved your fiancé can enter the U.S., get married within 90 days and file for adjustment of status. Arriving in the U.S. is not the end of the process.
You must marry your fiancé in a state that allows for same-sex marriage, which hopefully will be all of America by the time your fiancé arrives. Once you marry he must start the adjustment of status process so that they can receive lawful permanent residence (green card).
This is a whole other process requiring at least $1225 in government fees, dozens of pages of forms and another approximately 10 months before your marriage interview!
Fiancé(e) Visa vs Spouse Visa
Acquiring citizenship through marriage is a decision that has to be carefully made. With so many categories of visas available, you need to methodically review the eligibility requirements of each one to determine the best option. Two visas, the fiancé(e) visa and spouse visa, both have their individual characteristics.
As a U.S. citizen, you can bring your fiancé(e) to the United States with the intention to marry and live here with a fiancé(e) K-1 visa. With the K-1 visa, the foreign fiancé(e) will be able to travel to the U.S. and marry their sponsor within the 90-day window.
Afterward, the foreign citizen can apply for an adjustment of status to become a legal permanent resident (LPR) with USCIS. One advantage of the K-1 visa is that the process is relatively fast and typically speedier than a K-3 or CR-1 visa (for married individuals).
The fiancé(e) visa process is about 6 months and becoming a permanent resident thereafter takes about 10.5 months.
Spouse visas on the other hand offer two possible options–IR-1 or CR-1 and K-3 visas. You can bring your spouse to the U.S. by way of a Petition for Alien Relative, I-130 or nonimmigrant visa (K-3).
A “spouse” is defined as the legally wedded husband or wife, including same-sex spouses of U.S. citizens and LPRs. In some cases, common-law spouses may qualify for the same benefits. The CR-1 spousal visa is valid for 6 months and permits the holder to come to the U.S.
and reside permanently. With this visa, no adjustment of status is necessary.
Spouse of Permanent Residents
In some cases, the spouse of a permanent resident will be on a waitlist until the visa or green card becomes available but this waiting period is shorter than other family immigration categories.
Comparison of Fiancé(e) Visa vs Spouse Visa
With both visas, you must demonstrate proof that you have a bona fide relationship. With a fiancé(e) visa, you must get married in the United States whereas a K-3 spouse visa is for those who were married outside the country. Individuals who are eligible for a K-3 nonimmigrant visa include:
- An individual in marriage to a U.S. citizen
- An individual with a Petition for Alien Relative filed by the citizen spouse
- An individual with an approved I-129F, forwarded to the American consulate abroad with the intention of applying for a K-3 or K-4 visa.
A sponsor for a K-4 petition would need a number of documents when filing the petition including:
- Signed Petition for Alien Relative
- Evidence of citizenship in the form of a birth certificate, U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization, etc.
- Completed G-325A forms for the sponsor and the fiancé(e)
- Any prior marriage nullification documents
- Passport style color photos of the sponsor and spouse
It’s important to keep in mind that the consular officer may request additional information or documentation so it’s best to consult a spouse visa attorney to learn more.
Which is Faster–Fiancé(e) Versus Spouse Visa
We often get posed which visa is faster, spouse visa or fiancé(e) visa? While the process is very similar, the benefit of a fiancé(e) visa is that they can join you in the country much faster than with a spouse visa. With that being said, however, the cost is significantly higher for a K-1 fiancé(e) visa.
K-1 Government Filing Fees
There are three major costs associated with a K-1 fiancé(e) visa. The Form I-129F has a filing fee of $535, plus $160 paid to the consulate. That totals $695 strictly to the government.
For the immigrant visa, there’s a filing fee of $535 for Form I-130, $325 to the consulate for the DS-260 application, and a financial support fee of $120. To adjust your status, it will cost $1,225 for the Form I-485 fee. Total government fees (not including attorney fees) therefore come out between $980 and $1,760 depending on if you go through consular processing or adjustment of status.
Income Requirement Differences–Marriage Visas
Regardless of whether you opt for a fiancé(e) or spouse visa, your income (petitioners) income level will be taken into consideration. If you first get married then petition for your spouse to enter the U.S.
, you need to demonstrate that your income isn’t below 125% of the poverty level. Afterward, when your spouse is applying for a green card through an adjustment of status, you’ll have to meet the higher 125% requirement.
Marriage-Based Green Cards
Getting a spouse visa is often a step along the road to a marriage-based green card. The only requirement for this green card is to have a legitimate marriage to a U.S. citizen and to be eligible for adjustment of status (meaning that you have not violated your status). Marrying a U.S.
citizen is one of the best ways to get a green card due to the fact that you will be considered an “immediate relative” of the citizen, which holds benefits in that there is no annual limit for green cards for immediate relatives and you will not have to wait for a priority date to be current.
In fact, you can file the I-485 application to register permanent residence or adjust status at the same time that you file your I-130 for your nonimmigrant visa.
It usually takes about six months for your I-485 to be processed, so filing them concurrently is the fastest method. During this time, you will ly receive a notice to come in for an interview. If you are outside the U.S.
when you apply for your marriage-based green card, the interview will be mandatory.
Unless you are under the age of 14 or over the age of 78, you will need to appear for a specific appointment to have your biometrics taken.
This involves having the USCIS collect your fingerprints, photos, and signature as well as perform background and security checks on you.
Your appointment notice will be sent as a Form I-797C and will require you to go to an Application Support Center.
Marriage-Based Green Card Interview
Many people grow concerned about their interview, but the interviewing officer is only trying to ferret out fraudulent marriages. If your relationship is legitimate, then you only need to speak confidently, clearly, and truthfully. Some questions you might be asked include:
- What hobbies or interests you and your spouse have in common?
- When is your anniversary?
- How are chores divvied up around the house?
- When did your relationship turn romantic?
- How long was it before you decided to get married?
- Who proposed to whom?
- Did you decide to have a long or short engagement? Why was this decision made?
- When did you meet each other’s parents?
- Where was the wedding venue?
- Who were the bridesmaids and groomsmen at your wedding?
- Where did you go for your honeymoon?
- Have you ever been on vacation together? Where?
- Do you attend a church or religious service? Where?
- Do you plan on having children?
- Do you have any children from previous marriages?
Remember to be honest. If you do not know the answer to a question, it is better to say “I don’t know” than to lie. Being denied your green card is a temporary inconvenience. Being caught in a lie can result in far more serious consequences.
If you have children that you would to accompany you through your status, you can take advantage of the follow-to-join benefits, which will allow them to come with you without having to file a new petition for each child. You can apply for follow-to-join benefits by providing a copy of your green card, your approval notice, your I-130, and the I-797 notice of action.
If your application to adjust your status is approved or the consular officer approves your case, you will be issued your green card.
However, if your marriage was less than two years old when approved, you will be issued a conditional 2-year green card.
In order to remove the conditions and enjoy all of the benefits of the typical ten-year green card, you must file an I-751 form within 90 days before the end of that initial 2-year period.
If you and your spouse divorce before that time, you may still be able to qualify to have your conditions removed by submitting a “good faith marriage waiver” to demonstrate that your marriage was not fraudulent and that the divorce was either necessary or your control.
If the immigration officer detects red flags during the standard interview, you may be summoned to a second follow-up interview called a Stokes interview. During this interview, you and your spouse will be separated into different rooms and interviewed. You will be asked the same questions and your answers will be compared.
For example, if you are asked when your first date was and your answers differ, you run the risk of failing the Stokes interview and having your visa denied. Knowing the questions that you may be asked ahead of time could help prepare you for the Stokes interview. These questions are often much more specific and difficult to coordinate.
Here is a short list of questions you might expect:
- When and where did you first meet each other?
- What types of food does your spouse enjoy most?
- What types of vehicles have you owned together?
- Who does most of the cleaning, cooking, and financial planning?
- Do you own any pets? What kinds? What are their names?
- How often do you eat at restaurants?
- What do you both typically eat for breakfast?
- What is your nightly routine before going to bed?
- What is your spouse’s cell phone provider?
- What types of movies, music, or other entertainment do you both enjoy?
Red flags in your normal interview that could trigger a Stokes interview include avoiding answering questions, hesitating or answering nervously, or answering inconsistently. As long as you answer truthfully and confidently and your case is legitimate, you should have little risk of getting a Stokes interview.
Tips for Your Interview
Here are some ways you can optimize your chances of having a successful interview with the immigration officer and avoid red flags, delays, and denials:
- Arrive at least half an hour before your appointment time. The earlier the better.
- Avoid casual or immodest clothes. Always try to dress professionally.
- Answer questions calmly and clearly. Nervousness or unease may raise red flags.
- Avoid reciting memorized facts. It will be clear if you and your spouse have rehearsed your answers. Just answer truthfully.
- Don’t forget the necessary documentation to validate your relationship.
Post Interview Process
If your interview goes well, then you will need to wait until the USCIS makes a decision on your I-130 petition.
If it is approved, then you will receive notice of the action and your spouse’s passport will be sent back with the marriage-based green card inside.
This will allow your spouse to enter the United States as an official permanent resident. If you enter your case number into this Case Status Database, you can check on how your immigrant case is going.
Fiancé(e) vs Spouse Visa Denial
Having a visa denied can be a difficult situation, but there are steps to take if this happens that may save your case. For both the fiancé(e) visa and spouse visa, denials work the same. For starters, there is a difference between denial and rejection.
Rejection happens if there was an issue with fee payment or if there was a problem with the petition (incomplete, inconsistent, or missing information). This is often an easy-to-fix situation that simply requires filing a new petition with the mistakes corrected.
Denial, on the other hand, means that the immigration officer reviewing your case decided that a fiancé(e) visa or spouse visa was not merited. This is ly the result of the interview. If your petition is denied, be sure to take the notice to your immigration attorney who will guide you on what steps to take next.
You may be able to file a motion to reconsider or reopen. In a motion to reconsider, you are appealing to the immigration officer to have them look at your case again.
For this to be successful, you must be able to argue from a legal standpoint that the decision to deny your petition was incorrect.
A motion to reopen is used if you have new evidence that could shed new light on your case and potentially change the outcome.
Lastly, you may also be able to appeal to a third party, the Administrative Appeals Office, if you believe that your case was incorrectly denied. However, the AAO does not often overturn the decisions of USCIS officers, so you will need to work with an attorney to make sure that appealing is a viable choice.
Your New Social Security Number
Once you become a lawful permanent resident in the U.S., you will need to acquire a social security number (SSN). You can request an SSN through your online immigrant visa application DS-260. If you did this, then you should receive your SSN card in the mail within 3 weeks of your arrival as a permanent resident.
If you did not request an SSN with your application, then you will need to visit a Social Security office and apply for a number there.
You can only do this once you have a permanent address in the United States, however, and you will need to bring your passport or Form I-551 (Permanent Resident Card) as well as your birth certificate.
This will also apply for each person that is applying for SSNs along with you.
How Our Fiancé(e) and Spouse Visa Attorneys Can Help
Our marriage green card lawyers can help identify the best course of action, whether it be through a K-1 fiancé(e) visa or spouse visa. We have successfully handled dozens of cases and have assisted our clients through every step of the process.
From completing the application forms correctly to accompanying you and your spouse to the final immigration interview, we’ve handled it all. The process of sponsoring a relative or soon-to-be spouse can be burdensome but will the help of a qualified attorney, we can help you stay on the right track.
To get in touch with one of our expert attorneys, you can fill out this contact form and schedule your consultation with our office today.
US Visas for Spouses
American citizens have two means of bringing their foreign husbands or wives to the US to live (if you are not yet married, please visit our section for fiancé(e) visas).
- You can “sponsor” your spouse's immigrant visa for entry to the United States. If you follow this process, your foreign spouse will complete the visa process completely outside the US, and then arrive in the US and obtain permanent residency status immediately. You will need to submit an immigrant Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130. After USCIS, the National Visa Center and the US Embassy complete all the necessary administrative processing your spouse will be granted an immigrant visa. Your spouse will receive an IR1 or a CR1 visa.
(Note: An IR-1 (IR stands for “Immediate Relative”) visa allows your spouse to immigrate to the U.S. A CR1 Visa (CR stands for “Conditional Residency”) will be given to you if your marriage is less than 2 years old. It is conditional for two years.
- You can obtain a K-3 visa. The K3 visa is a non-immigrant visa for the US. K3 visas are granted normally within a few months. You should use the K3 visa to start the process outside of the US, then travel to the US to complete the immigration process. Please note that in this case, the application must be made in the country where the marriage took place. If your marriage took place in the US, your spouse must apply for a K3 visa through the US Embassy in the country of his/her residence. Furthermore, and somewhat confusing – the applicant needs to have form I-129F (called “petition for alien fiancé(e)) also filed on his/her behalf. Since K-3 is a relatively new visa category, USCIS continues to be using the Form I-129F and it is still called a “petition for alien fiancé (e)” rather than a “petition for alien spouse”. After the visa has been issued, the spouse can travel to the US.
To obtain either visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must be legally married. Merely living together does not qualify a marriage for immigration Unmarried partners are ineligible to sponsor visas to the United Stated.
- In most cases you must have a residence in the US to apply. If you live outside the US, see the next section below.
- You must be 18 years old before you can sign the Affidavit of Support, which is a form that will be required later in the process.
If you live outside the US
If you want to bring your foreign spouse to the US, but you are currently living outside the US, you must submit a visa petition (form I-130) to either your local US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office or directly to the US Embassy where your foreign spouse resides. Please check first if the US Embassy accepts Immigrant Visa Petitions.
Once the visa petition is approved, the foreign-born spouse will receive a packet from the National Visa Center (NVC), which is located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The packet informs your foreign spouse of the various documents which must be presented at the immigrant visa interview abroad (e.g.
, passport, police clearances, results of medical examinations, etc.). The packet includes certain documents requesting biographic data that must be completed, signed and forwarded to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.
Usually, the foreign-born spouse is interviewed and granted an immigrant visa within three to six months.
If you and your spouse are planning to remain outside the US indefinitely, it is not recommended that you apply for a Green Card. The Green Card could be cancelled at the Port of Entry to the US if you have spent more than six months outside of the US. The Immigration Officer at the Port of Entry will have to determine if the US is your main home, so be prepared for a lot of questions.
If you both already live in the US
The U.S. citizen must submit a Petition for Alien Relative (form I-130) to appropriate US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office to prove that the marriage is genuine.
Attached to the visa petition are the following items:
- Biographical forms (forms G-325A) for both the husband and the wife with photos attached.
- Proof of the petitioner's citizenship. This can take the form of a U.S. Passport, a Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship or a certified copy of the citizen's birth certificate.
- A certified copy of the marriage certificate.
- Certified copies of the documents that terminated any previous marriages of the husband or wife, including final divorce decrees, and certificates of annulment or death.
At the same time, the foreign-born spouse, assuming he or she entered the U.S. lawfully, should submit an application for adjustment of status (form I-485), which is an application for a green card.
Normally you will also have to submit form I-485 along with green card photographs, an affidavit of support from the spouse, an application for employment authorization, an application for a travel permit (known as “advanced parole”) – assuming the non-citizen spouse has not been in the U.S. unlawfully for 180 days or more – and numerous other USCIS forms.
We don't want to be apart for so long. What can we do to avoid this?
Sometimes in order to avoid a lengthy separation, the couple returns to the U.S. immediately after the marriage (using a visitor visa) and proceeds to file the necessary applications once they are both in the U.S. Often the USCIS does not this, and it is not uncommon for the USCIS to stop the foreign-born spouse at the Port of Entry and exclude him or her from the U.S.
as an intending immigrant. However, if the foreign-born spouse manages to enter the US, USCIS will not deny his or her application for a green card solely because he or she entered the U.S. on a temporary visa when their real intent was to remain permanently in the U.S.
You should instead apply for the K-3 visa in order to work and live legally in the US, while waiting your permanent residence.
What about my foreign spouse's children?
Spouses of U.S. citizens, and the spouse's children, can come to the United States on nonimmigrant visas (K-4 visas) and wait in the United States to complete the immigration process. Before a K-4 visa can be issued to a child, the parent must have a K-3 visa.
We haven't been married very long. Does that matter?
If the marriage is less than two years old when the foreign-born spouse becomes a permanent resident, the green card will expire after a two-year period. Both spouses must submit a joint petition (form I-751) to remove the two-year condition. You should do this 90 days before the Green Card expires.
Our marriage has ended. Can I stay in the US?
If the marriage has ended because you got divorced, your US citizen spouse has died, or due to abuse in the marriage, the foreign-born spouse may eligible to apply for a waiver of the joint petition requirement. However, these waivers are very difficult to get.
Bringing your Fiance to the US
If you are a US citizen planning to marry someone who is not a US citizen in the United States, your fiancé(e) will need a visa to enter the United States. Specifically, you will need a K-1 visa, which will allow you to get married and then pursue permanent residency. Please read our Frequently Asked Questions section for additional information.
Applying for the K-1 visa
To apply for the K-1 visa, the procedure is as follows:
- Form I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) should be submitted to USCIS. If your fiancé(e) has unmarried children who are under 21, they are eligible to accompany your fiancé(e), but only if they are listed on this form. See our section on obtaining a visa for minor children.
- Show proof of your U.S. citizenship.
- Submit 2 Form G-325A Biographic Data Sheets (one for you and one for your fiancé(e)) plus color photos of each of you.
- A copy of any divorce decrees, death certificates, or annulment decrees if either of you were previously married.
- Proof of permission to marry if you or your fiancé(e) are subject to any age restrictions (age restrictions vary from state to state).
You and your fiancé(e) must fulfill several requirements in order to be considered for the K-1 visa, such as:
- You must both be free to marry (ie both of you are single, divorced, etc)
- You must have met your fiancé(e) in person at least one time in the past two years. You can prove this by showing photographs of the two of you together, airline tickets, etc. This can be waived if you can prove that meeting would have created hardship, or meeting would have gone against traditional or cultural custom in your fiancé(e)'s home country.
- It is important to note that if your fiancé(e) is given the visa, you must get married within 90 of his or her arrival in the US, or your fiancé(e) will have to leave. Your fiancé(e) may not be given another US visa if this happens. The visa cannot be extended beyond 90 days. Your fiancé(e) also must marry the K-1 petitioner (you) and no one else in order to remain in the US.
If you require assistance in obtaining a visa for your fiancé(e) workpermit.com can help you.
After we get married, will my spouse be allowed to work in the US?
After you get married, you must apply for an Adjustment of Status, Form I-485, to become a permanent resident. You will also need to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
Can my fiancé(e) work after arriving in the US but before we get married?
After arriving in the United States, your fiancé(e) may apply for an employment authorization using Form I-765. However, the employment authorization may not be processed within the 90-day time limit for you to get married. If your fiancé(e) applies for adjustment to permanent resident status, your fiancé(e) must re-apply for a new employment authorization after the marriage.
If we don't get married, can my fiancé(e) remain in the US?
You must get married within 90 of his or her arrival in the US, or your fiancé(e) will have to leave. Your fiancé(e) may not be given another US visa if this happens. The visa cannot be extended beyond 90 days. Your fiancé(e) also must marry the K-1 petitioner (you) and no one else in order to remain in the US.
Our petition for a visa was denied. What can we do to appeal the decision?
Usually you have 33 days to appeal once you have received the decision by mail. The appeal must be filed with the office that made the decision.
The Process for Bringing a Foreign Fiancé to the United States
When a United States citizen plans to marry someone who is a citizen of a foreign country, they may be able to obtain a nonimmigrant visa that will allow their fiancé to come to the U.S.
to get married, after which they may apply for a Green Card. However, the process of bringing a fiancé to the United States is complex, and it involves multiple government agencies.
To complete the process of fiancé immigration, the following steps must be followed:
- File a petition for fiancé – To begin the process, a U.S. citizen must file Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If USCIS approves this petition, they will recognize the relationship between the citizen and their fiancé and send the approved petition to the National Visa Center (NVC).
- Apply for a fiancé visa – After the Department of State (DOS) receives an approved Form I-129F, the fiancé can apply for a K-1 nonimmigrant visa at the U.S Embassy or consulate in the country where they currently live.
- Attend a visa interview – The fiancé will be interviewed by a DOS consular officer, and they will be required to provide certain documentation, including proof of required medical examinations and vaccinations and an affidavit of financial support. If the fiancé qualifies, a visa will be issued.
- Enter the U.S. – After a visa is issued, it will be valid for up to six months. The fiancé will travel to the United States, and they will be inspected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), who will decide whether to admit them to the U.S.
- Get married – After the foreign fiancé enters the United States, they must marry their U.S. citizen fiancé within 90 days.
- Apply to adjust status – After getting married, the immigrant spouse may apply to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States by filing Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status). Both spouses may be required to provide documentation and attend an interview.
- Remove conditions on residence – Spouses who have been married for less than two years when applying to adjust their status will receive a conditional Green Card that will be valid for two years. Within 90 days of the expiration of this Green Card, they must apply for permanent residence by filing Form I-751 (Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence).
Contact a DuPage County Immigration Lawyer
Meeting the requirements for fiancé immigration can be a complicated process, and the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney is often required in order to ensure that the proper forms are filed and the correct steps are followed. At Khan Nayyar & Associates, LLC, we can provide you with the legal help you need as you work to bring your loved one to the U.S. to get married. Contact our Oak Brook immigration attorneys today by calling 630-LAWYERS.
Bringing a foreign spouse or fiancée to the United States | Vickerstaff Law Office, PSC | Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky, Immigration Lawyer
We are increasingly living in a global society. As part of this, it has become very common for American citizens to spend extended periods abroad for work, school or military service.
Some of these people end up falling in love while they are away, and they want to bring their new spouse or fiancée back to the United States when they return home.This can be done by obtaining the appropriate visa.
However, because the visa process can be complicated, it is important to work with an experienced immigration attorney. Even small errors can result in a spouse or fiancée’s arrival being delayed by months or years.
Immigrant visas for spouses
Individuals who are already married to a U.S. citizen can enter the United States on an immigrant visa.
If the couple has been married for more than two years, the foreign spouse will need to obtain an immediate relative (IR1) visa.
If the marriage is less than two years old, the foreign spouse must obtain a conditional resident (CR1) visa. The conditional status can be removed two years after the spouse enters the United States.
In order to qualify for a visa, the immigrant spouse must be legally married to a U.S. citizen.
Mere cohabitation does not qualify, though common-law spouses may be eligible depending on how the relationship is recognized by the laws of the country in which the common-law marriage occurred.
Same-sex couples are not eligible for spousal visas, even if they were legally married in another country. In polygamous marriages, only the first spouse can qualify for a spousal visa.
Non-immigrant visas for fiancées
Fiancées of U.S. citizens are not eligible for immigrant visas. However, they can obtain non-immigrant visas to enter the United States temporarily. The fiancée can then adjust status to become a legal permanent resident after the wedding takes place.
A K-1 visa gives fiancées of U.S. citizens permission to travel to the United States with the intent of getting married. The marriage must occur with 90 days of the fiancée’s arrival.
In order to qualify for a visa, the proposed marriage must be legal in the state in which it will occur. In addition, the couple must have met in person at least once during the previous two years.
There are exceptions to this rule in cases of hardship or in cases where it is culturally impermissible for a man and a woman to meet before marriage.
Obtaining a visa
In order to obtain a spousal or fiancée visa, the U.S. citizen must first file a petition with the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service. Then, the foreign citizen will apply for a visa. As part of that process, the foreign citizen must submit to an interview, background check and medical examination.
If you are hoping to bring your spouse or fiancée to the United States, an experienced immigration attorney can help you navigate the process.