If your fiancé(e) is overseas and you want to get married in the U.S., or he/she is in the U.S. and wants to depart the U.S. and return to get married. This visa acts as a bridge to permanent residence for your fiancé(e) —it lets him or her enter the U.S. for 90 days so your marriage ceremony can take place here. Once you are married, your new spouse can apply for permanent residence and remain in the U.S. while we process the application.
What are the basic eligibility requirements for a fiancé(e) petition?
Only a U.S. citizen can file a fiancé(e) petition. In your petition you must prove that:
• You are a U.S. citizen; and • You and your fiancé(e) intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the U.S.; and • You are both free to marry; and • You have met each other in person within two years before you file this petition unless:
1. The requirement to meet your fiancé(e) in person would violate strict and long-established customs of your or your
fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice; or
2. You prove that the requirement to personally meet your fiancé(e) would result in extreme hardship to you.
What if my fiancé(e) is already in the U.S. in another status and we decide to get married now?
A fiancé(e) visa is only available to a person who is outside the U.S., or will be leaving the U.S. and then returning as a fiancé(e). If your fiancé(e) is in the U.S. and entered using a visa other than a fiancé(e) visa, and you marry, then you may file an I-130 relative petition for him or her as your husband or wife. He/she may be able to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence orto Adjust Status, along with your petition. If your fiancé(e) is in the U.S. and entered unlawfully, while you can getmarried and file the I-130 for him or her, in most cases he/she will not be able to adjust his/her status to that of a permanent resident while in the U.S.
What if we are engaged but have not yet decided to marry?
The fiancé(e) visa is a temporary visa that simply lets your fiancé(e) enter the U.S. so the two of you may marry here. It is not a way for you to bring a person here so you can get to know one another, or spend more time together to decide whether you want to get married.
If we choose the fiancé(e) visa option, how does my fiancé(e) get permanent resident status?
First, your fiancé(e) will enter the U.S. with a fiancé(e) visa. Next the two of you marry. You will need to get married within the 90-days that his/her status lasts. As soon as you get married, your new husband/wife may apply for permanent residence by filing an I-485.
What happens if we do not get married within 90 days?
Fiancé(e) status automatically expires after 90 days. It cannot be extended for any reason. Your fiancé(e) must leave the U.S. at the end of the 90 days if you do not get married. If he/she does not depart, he/she will be in violation of his or her immigration status. This can affect future eligibility for immigration benefits.
We want to make plans for our wedding. How long will this process take?
USCIS cannot guarantee a processing time. Every case is different and the number of cases they receive varies. They process fiancé(e) cases in the order they receive them. Once USCIS completes processing, the U.S. Consulate must process your fiancé(e) for a visa.
My fiancé(e) has a child. May the child come to the U.S. with my fiancé(e)?
If the child is less than 21 years old and is not married, a K-2 visa may be available to him/her.
Can my fiancé(e) work in the U.S. while here on a fiancé(e) visa?
Your fiancé(e) may apply for Employment Authorization, after he/ she is admitted to the U.S. based on the fiancé(e) visa. However, it will expire when status expires-90 days after entry. As a practical matter, it usually makes more sense to marry and include an application for work authorization with the permanent residence application. Your fiance(é) can apply for permanent residence using I-485 application as soon as you marry.
What if my fiancé(e) uses a different kind of visa, or enters as a visitor without visa, to come here so we can get married?
There could be serious consequences. Attempting to get a visa or enter the U.S. by saying one thing when you intend another may be considered immigration fraud, for which there are severe penalties. Those penalties include restricting a person’s ability to get immigration benefits, including permanent residence, as well as a possible fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment of up to five years. It is not appropriate for your fiancé(e) to enter the U.S. as a visitor with the intent to marry you and remain to try to become a permanent resident. It is appropriate, however, to enter as a visitor to have the wedding in the U.S. and then return to a foreign residence for further processing for U.S. immigration as a spouse. You should come prepared with proof of your clear intentions inthis regard.
There may be other options available as well.
Information provided on this site is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal advice. Individuals should speak with an attorney knowledgeable in such matters concerning their partiuclar situation.