People can’t control who they fall in love with and sometimes people fall in love with people who aren’t U.S. citizens and don’t live in the United States. Fortunately for them, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have an immigration policy and visa that addresses the issue.
The USCIS Fiancé Visa (Form I-29F, Petition for Alien Fiancé) allows U.S. citizens wishing to bring a foreign national fiancé living abroad to the United States to marry. In order to be eligible for this visa the following requirements must be met.
- The petitioner (person wishing to bring a foreign national to the U.S. to marry) must be a U.S. citizen.
- The petitioner must intend to marry his or her fiancé who was living abroad within 90 days of his or her entry.
- The petitioner and his or her fiancé are both free to marry and any previous marriages must have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment.
- You met each other, in person, at least once once within 2 years of filing your petition. There are, however, two exceptions to this rule. Each requires a waiver. First, you may not have to meet if the requirement violates strict and long-established customs of your or your fiancé’s foreign culture or social practice. Second, you may not have to meet if you can show that the requirement to meet would result in extreme hardship to you.
Once the visa is issued (K-1 non-immigrant visa), it allows your fiancé to enter the United States for 90 days. During that time your marriage ceremony must take place. Once you marry, your spouse may apply for permanent residence (“Green Card”) and remain in the United States while the USCIS processes the application. If you do not get married within the required 90 days, your fiancé’s status automatically expires. It cannot be extended. Your fiancé should then leave the United States at the end of the 90 days. If your fiancé does not depart, he or she will be in violation of U.S. immigration law. This may result in removal (deportation) and could affect future eligibility for U.S. immigration benefits.
If your fiancé has a child who is under 21 and unmarried, a K-2 non-immigrant visa may be available to him or her.
If you, your friends, or your family need assistance with a Fiancé Visa or any other immigration issue, please contact us for a free consultation.