Moving home with your fiancé(e) involves 3 governmental agencies – US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Dept. of State (DOS), and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
You must first file a Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) (Form I-129F), which leads to a K-1 nonimmigrant visa, AKA the "fiancé(e) visa".
The process can be made easier by talking to an immigration lawyer.
Who is Eligible for a Fiancé(e) Visa?
If you meet the following requirements, you can bring your fiancé(e) to the US on a fiancé(e) visa.
- US citizen
- Plan to marry within 90 days of arrival
- You are both legally free to marry
- You've met in person at least once in the 2 years before filing your petition. This can be waived if you can prove it would:
- Violate your fiancé(e)'s cultural practices
- Cause you extreme hardship
What's the Process to Bring Your Fiancé(e) to the United States?
Background and security checks on you and your fiancé(e) may be conducted at each stage.
Step 1: Petition for fiancé(e) visa (USCIS)
You file Form I-129F with USCIS and, if approved, they send it to the DOS.
Step 2: Visa Application (DOS)
The DOS sends the form to the US embassy where your fiancé(e) lives, where they apply for the K-1 nonimmigrant visa. If approved, it is valid for up to 6 months.
Step 3: Inspection at a Port of Entry (CBP)
The CBP officer on duty decides whether to admit your fiancé(e) into the country.
Step 4: Marriage
Once your fiancé(e) is in the US, you have 90 days to marry.
Step 5: Adjustment of Status (USCIS)
If married within 90 days, your new spouse can apply for a Green Card.
What Happens to Children of Fiancé(e)s?
Unmarried children under the age of 21 may be eligible to come to the US on K-2 nonimmigrant visas.
What Happens if You Don't Get Married Within 90 Days?
K-1 and K-2 nonimmigrant visas automatically expire after 90 days and cannot be extended. If you haven't married within 90 days, your fiancé(e) and their child(ren) must leave the country.
However, if you marry after 90 days, you can file a Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130). In such cases, it is best to talk to an immigration lawyer before filing the form.