A U.S. citizen who wishes to marry a non-U.S. citizen can help their fiancé(e) obtain permanent residence in different ways. The process we will talk about in this video is to apply for a fiancé(e) visa if your fiancé(e) is overseas and you want to marry in the United States. This visa lets your fiancé(e) enter the United States for 90 days so your marriage ceremony can take place in the United States. Once you marry, your spouse can apply for permanent residence and remain in the United States while USCIS processes the application. When USCIS approves the petition, they will send it to the National Visa Center, which will process and forward it to the U.S. Embassy or consulate nearest your fiancé(e)’s foreign place of residence. The embassy or consulate will then invite your fiancé(e) to apply for the actual fiancé(e) visa.

What are the basic eligibility requirements for a fiancé(e) petition?

You must be a U.S. citizen to file a fiancé(e) petition. In your petition, you must show that:

• You are a U.S. citizen;
• You and your fiancé(e) intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the United States;
• You are both free to marry; and
• You have met each other in person within 2 years before you file this petition.

There are two exceptions to this last requirement, but they are rarely granted.

If I choose the fiancé(e) visa option, how does my fiancé(e) obtain permanent resident status?

Your fiancé(e) will need to enter the United States with a fiancé(e) visa. Once admitted to the United States with a K-1 visa, your fiancé(e) may stay for 90 days during which you may marry. As soon as you marry, your spouse may apply for permanent residence.

My fiancé(e) has a child. May the child come to the United States with my fiancé(e)?

If the child is under 21 years old and is not married, a K-2 visa may be available to the child or children. We must include the name(s) of your fiancé(e)’s child(ren) on your petition.

Can my fiancé(e) work in the United States while on a fiancé(e) visa?

Your fiancé(e) may file for work authorization when they enter the United States, but it would be a waste of money. The fiancée visa is good for 90 days and the work authorization can only be for the time the visa is granted for. USCIS takes 90 days to process a work authorization application, usually the card would expire before you would get the authorization.

However, your fiancé(e) would also be eligible to apply for an extended work authorization when he or she files for permanent residence.

What if my fiancé(e) uses a different kind of visa, or enters as a visitor without visa, to come here so we can marry?

There could be serious problems for your fiancé(e) if he or she enters the United States on another visa to marry and reside here. Attempting to obtain a visa or entering the United States by saying one thing when you intend another may be immigration fraud, for which there are serious penalties. Those penalties include restricting a person’s ability to obtain immigration benefits, including permanent residence, and a possible fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment of up to 5 years.

What if my fiancé(e) is already in the United States in another status and we decide to marry now?

If your fiancé(e) is in the United States and entered using a visa other than a fiancé(e) visa, and you marry, then you may file for him or her as your spouse.

If your fiancé(e) is in the United States and entered unlawfully, usually he or she cannot adjust status to that of a permanent resident while in the United States. In this situation, once you marry, you may file a petition for him or her as your spouse and then a waiver. If approved, he or she must pursue an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or consulate overseas.

What if we are engaged but have not yet decided to marry?

The fiancé(e) visa is a temporary visa that simply permits your fiancé(e) to enter the United States so that the two of you can marry in the United States within the 90 days permitted from entry. 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 marry. A tourist visa can be used for that purpose.

What happens if we do not marry within 90 days?

Fiancé(e) status automatically expires after 90 days. It cannot be extended. Your fiancé(e) should leave the United States at the end of the 90 days if you do not marry. If your fiancé(e) does not depart, he or she would violate U.S. immigration law. This could affect future eligibility for U.S. immigration benefits.

We want to make plans for our wedding. How long will this process take?

Each case is different. USCIS processes fiancé(e) petitions in the order they receive them. Once USCIS completes their processing, your approved petition is then forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will then send the petition to the U.S. Embassy or consulate, which will need time to process your fiancé(e) for a visa.

I need more information, who can I call?

You are welcome to call our office, you will find our telephone number on this web page as well as a button to schedule your appointment online. I have also provided links to additional information about the fiancée visa on this page.