If you are a US citizen planning to marry someone who is not a US citizen in the United States, your fiancé(e) will need a visa to enter the United States. Specifically, you will need a K-1 visa, which will allow you to get married and then pursue permanent residency. Please read our Frequently Asked Questions section for additional information.
Applying for the K-1 visa
To apply for the K-1 visa, the procedure is as follows:
- Form I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) should be submitted to USCIS. If your fiancé(e) has unmarried children who are under 21, they are eligible to accompany your fiancé(e), but only if they are listed on this form. See our section on obtaining a visa for minor children.
- Show proof of your U.S. citizenship.
- Submit 2 Form G-325A Biographic Data Sheets (one for you and one for your fiancé(e)) plus color photos of each of you.
- A copy of any divorce decrees, death certificates, or annulment decrees if either of you were previously married.
- Proof of permission to marry if you or your fiancé(e) are subject to any age restrictions (age restrictions vary from state to state).
You and your fiancé(e) must fulfill several requirements in order to be considered for the K-1 visa, such as:
- You must both be free to marry (ie both of you are single, divorced, etc)
- You must have met your fiancé(e) in person at least one time in the past two years. You can prove this by showing photographs of the two of you together, airline tickets, etc. This can be waived if you can prove that meeting would have created hardship, or meeting would have gone against traditional or cultural custom in your fiancé(e)'s home country.
- It is important to note that if your fiancé(e) is given the visa, you must get married within 90 of his or her arrival in the US, or your fiancé(e) will have to leave. Your fiancé(e) may not be given another US visa if this happens. The visa cannot be extended beyond 90 days. Your fiancé(e) also must marry the K-1 petitioner (you) and no one else in order to remain in the US.
If you require assistance in obtaining a visa for your fiancé(e) workpermit.com can help you.
Frequently Asked Questions
After we get married, will my spouse be allowed to work in the US?
After you get married, you must apply for an Adjustment of Status, Form I-485, to become a permanent resident. You will also need to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
Can my fiancé(e) work after arriving in the US but before we get married?
After arriving in the United States, your fiancé(e) may apply for an employment authorization using Form I-765. However, the employment authorization may not be processed within the 90-day time limit for you to get married. If your fiancé(e) applies for adjustment to permanent resident status, your fiancé(e) must re-apply for a new employment authorization after the marriage.
If we don't get married, can my fiancé(e) remain in the US?
You must get married within 90 of his or her arrival in the US, or your fiancé(e) will have to leave. Your fiancé(e) may not be given another US visa if this happens. The visa cannot be extended beyond 90 days. Your fiancé(e) also must marry the K-1 petitioner (you) and no one else in order to remain in the US.
After my fiancé(e) arrives in the US, how long do we have before we have to get married?
You must get married within 90 days.
Our petition for a visa was denied. What can we do to appeal the decision?
Usually you have 33 days to appeal once you have received the decision by mail. The appeal must be filed with the office that made the decision.