HOW DO I HELP MY FIANCEE
OR SPOUSE IMMIGRATE TO THE UNITED STATES?
To consult an immigration lawyer, please call us at (626) 642-8066
or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An attorney in our office would be happy to assist you.
Do I Help My Fiancee or Spouse Become a US Permanent Resident (i.e., Green
A US citizen who decides to marry a foreign national can take different
paths to help his or her fiancee get permanent residence. One option
is to marry overseas. If you marry overseas, you can then file an Immigrant
Petition for Alien Relative for your new husband or wife. If you choose
this option, when the petition is approved, your new husband or wife
will be processed for an immigrant visa by the US Embassy or Consulate,
and will then enter the US as a permanent resident.
In certain situations, while you are physically overseas, you may be
able to file the petition with a US Consulate or overseas USCIS office
rather than with a USCIS office in the US. Check with the US Consulate
in each specific country for more information. Another option is if
your fiancee is already in the US in another lawful temporary status
and you want to get married in the US. While you may marry and file
the Immigrant Petition for him or her, there may be additional requirements
that he or she will have to meet before being able to adjust status
to permanent residence in the US.
One other option is the fiancee visa,
if your fiancee is overseas and you want to get married in the US, or
he or she is in the US and wants to depart the US and return to get
married. This visa acts as a bridge to permanent residence for your
fiancee—it lets him or her enter the US 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 US while the USCIS
processes the application. If you choose this option, the US citizen
spouse needs to file a Fiancee Petition with the USCIS. If you choose
this option and if the USCIS approves the petition, the USCIS will send
the approved petition to the US Embassy or Consulate nearest your fiancee’s
foreign place of residence. The Consulate will then invite him or her
to apply for the actual fiancee visa.
What are the basic eligibility requirements for a fiancee petition?
Only a US citizen can file a fiancee petition. In your petition you
must prove that:
• You are a US citizen;
• You and your fiancee intend to marry within 90 days of your
fiancee arrival in the US;
• You are both free to marry; and
• You have met each other in person within 2 years before you
file this petition unless:
1. The requirement to meet your fiancee in person would violate strict
and long-established customs of your or your fiancee’s foreign
culture or social practice; or
2. You prove that the requirement to personally meet your fiancée
would result in extreme hardship to you.
What if my fiancee is already in the US in another status and
we decide to get married now?
A fiancee visa is only available to a person who is outside the US,
or will be leaving the US and then returning as a fiancee. If your fiancee
is in the US and entered using a visa other than a fiancee visa, and
you marry, then you may file an Immigrant Petition for him or her as
your husband or wife. He or she may be able to apply for permanent residence
(i.e., green card), along with your petition.
If your fiancee is in the US and entered unlawfully, while you can
get married and file the Immigrant Petition for him or her, in most
cases he or she will not be able to apply for a marriage
green card while in the US. In this situation, he or she will have
to pursue an immigrant visa at a US Consulate overseas. Keep in mind
that foreign citizens that accrue 180 days or more of unlawful presence
in the US are generally prohibited from returning to the US for 3 to
10 years upon departure regardless of being married to a US citizen.
What if we are engaged but have not yet decided to marry?
The fiancee visa is a temporary visa that simply lets your fiancee
enter the US 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 fiancee visa option, how does my fiancee get
permanent resident status?
First, your fiancee will enter the US with a fiancee
visa. Next the two of you marry. You will need to get married within
the 90-days that his or her status lasts. As soon as you get married,
your new husband or wife may apply for a marriage
What happens if we do not get married within 90 days?
Fiancee status automatically expires after 90 days. It cannot be extended
for any reason. Your fiancee must leave the US at the end of the 90
days if you do not get married. If he or she does not depart, he or
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
The USCIS cannot guarantee a processing time. Every case is different
and the number of cases the government receive varies. To be fair to
all applicants, the USCIS processes fiancee cases in the order they
receive them. The USCIS cannot pull a case out of order to accommodate
wedding plans. In addition, once the USCIS completes processing, the
US Consulate must process your fiancee for a visa; so factor this into
My fiancee has a child. May the child come to the US with my
If the child is less than 21 years old and is not married, a K2 visa
may be available to him or her. Be sure to include the names of your
fiancee’s children on your fiancee petition.
Can my fiancee work in the US while here on a fiancee visa?
Your fiancee may apply for a temporary work permit after he or she is
admitted to the US based on the fiancee 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 permit
with the permanent residence application. Your fiancee can apply for
permanent residence as soon as you marry.
What if my fiancee 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 US 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 5 years. It is not appropriate for your fiancee
to enter the US 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 US and then return to
a foreign residence for further processing for US immigration as a spouse.
You should come prepared with proof of your clear intentions in this
What are the marriage requirements in foreign countries?
Marriage in France
Marriage in Hong Kong
Marriage in Indonesia
Marriage in Italy
Marriage in Japan
Marriage in Malaysia
Marriage in Philippines
Marriage in Poland
Marriage in Russia
Marriage in Singapore
Marriage in Spain
Marriage in South Korea
Marriage in Taiwan
Marriage in Thailand
Marriage in Vietnam
THE INFORMATION ON THIS WEBSITE IS NOT TO BE CONSIDERED LEGAL
ADVICE. SUCH INFORMATION IS INTENDED TO EDUCATE MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
GENERALLY AND IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE SOLUTIONS TO INDIVIDUAL PROBLEMS.
READERS ARE CAUTIONED NOT TO ATTEMPT TO SOLVE INDIVIDUAL PROBLEMS
ON THE BASIS OF INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN AND ARE STRONGLY ADVISED
TO SEEK ADVICE FROM AN EXPERIENCED IMMIGRATION LAWYER REGARDING SPECIFIC
Return to FAQ