top of page

A marriage is a marriage anywhere in the world. Marriage is recognized in every jurisdiction. If you’re bringing a spouse to the US, the process requires the filing of the form I-130, where you petition Immigration and identify your lawful spouse. Once it is approved, if the spouse is outside of the country, the USCIS would transfer your file to the State Department’s office in New Hampshire, which is the National Visa Center. The National Visa Center will accept the file and begin processing the logistics leading to the documentation. Once New Hampshire gets your approved file from USCIS, they will correspond with you to pay the visa fee that is required. Once that is paid, they will give you a list of documents you will need to prepare. These include the marriage certificate, both parties’ birth certificates, any criminal record or police record, proof of the financial ability to support your spouse, the affidavit of support, and any other documentation they may require.

What Are The Requirements For Approval Of A Fiancé Visa?

To petition for a fiancé visa, you must be a US citizen. Fiancés of permanent residents with green cards are not eligible for a K-1 Fiancé visa and US fiancé visas are different than US visas for spouses. You and your fiancé must be legally permitted to marry in the US. You must actually intend to marry within 90 days of the time that your fiancé arrives in the US. The two of you must not have any disqualifying conditions, such as criminal records or communicable diseases. You must have met your fiancé in person within the last two years. There are some exceptions to this, such as physical disabilities or cultural prohibitions to meeting in person prior to the marriage. However, these exceptions are very hard to come by and most requests for exceptions to these rules are denied. If you plan to ask for an exception, speak to an immigration attorney in Rockville, MD first.

What If We Don’t Have Pictures Or Videos From When We Met In Person?

Pictures and videos are proof that you have met your fiancé in person but they are not required. Other items you can use as evidence include passport stamps to and from from your fiancé’s country, airline boarding passes, and hotel receipts. You can also get affidavits from any individuals who will attest to witnessing your visit. Do note that it may seem suspicious to a consulate officer that you traveled the world to meet the love of your life and you forgot to bring a camera. You will need to consult with a Rockville, MD immigration attorney and compensate with your other forms of evidence.

How Long Should It Take Me To Complete My K-1 Fiancé Visa Petition?

You could probably easily complete the entire visa application in about an hour with the assistance of a Rockville, MD immigration attorney, depending on how much you know about your fiancé. However, most people need to do some research to find certain information, like their fiancé’s mother’s birthdate.

Can My Fiancé Work After He Arrives On His K-1 Visa?

Your fiancé will need to obtain an Employment Authorization Document before working in the US. You can apply for this document after you are married. It typically takes about two months to get the EAD and he or she will not be able to work during that waiting period. He or she will also not be able to work before you are married because you can’t get the EAD until you’ve been married.

My K-1 Petition Has Been Denied. Can I Appeal?

The denial letter you receive with your petition will tell you how to appeal. You will normally have 33 days to consult with an immigration attorney in Rockville, MD and get your appeal to the USCIS. The appeal must be sent to the same office that denied your first petition. Appeals are handled by an Administrative Appeals Unit based in Washington, DC.

They will then set up an appointment at the local consulate that has jurisdiction over the spouse. The US petitioner is usually not allowed into the consulate. The spouse would speak to them in a face to face discussion and convince the officer that it’s a bona-fide marriage. Then, they are given what’s called the immigrant visa, not a green card. With that visa, they are allowed to board the plane and when they deplane in the United States, they will be interviewed by Customs and Border Protection. You also have to pay an additional fee now. Most people forget to pay that fee and at this stage of the process, the lawyer is no longer involved. Then they come to America and wonder where their green card is. The finally contact their lawyer, who asks about the fee. They pay the fee and they get their green card shortly.

If the spouse is already in the United States for a different reason, they can do what’s called an adjustment of status. They complete many additional forms. Part of the green card application is also an application for work authorization, pending the approval of the green card. Also, there is an application for advance parole, if the person has a need to travel during the processing of the green card. Once you get your green card application, you have shown that you have immigrant intent and your non-immigrant visa is void. Now, the question becomes how the person came into the United States. Did they come in on an honest nonimmigrant intent or did they tell the immigration officer that they were coming as a tourist and already have the pre-planned notion to get married?

If you have a notion to get married before you come and they discover that, then you entered under false pretenses and you will be barred from the benefit of that status. If you came as a student, met your spouse, and decided to get married, that’s fine because you didn’t have the intent when you presented yourself to the immigration officer. If you say you came as a student, they want verification that you actually attended a program of study, a receipt that you paid your tuition, and your transcript showing that you finished your school program. Many people come to the United States on a student visa to knowingly stay here as long as possible. The immigration officer will make sure that the intent upon entering was a bona-fide act.

A related category is the fiancé visa. You can apply for a fiancé to enter on a separate form. You get a non-immigrant visa and an immigrant visa, meaning they accelerate their processing. You don’t go through the process at the National visa Center. You can usually enter six months after filing but once you enter the United States, you have to do the adjustment of status process of immigration. While the person comes in much quicker, the paperwork is much longer because you have to do the entire process with the state department and then, after you enter, you have to do the entire process with immigration.

The restrictions that they place on the fiancé is a concern. One rule is you must be married to each other within 90 days of entry. If you change your mind, the fiancé who entered on that visa must go back. They cannot change to any other category. The other restriction on the fiancé is you have to prove that you met face to face within two years prior to your submission of the application. Internet dating is not enough. You have to actually have visited with your future wife or husband and you have to show documentation that you actually met face to face within two years.

For more information on Bringing Your Spouse To Live In The US, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (301) 251-8830 today.

Fiancé Visa - Family Based Green Cards

To petition for a fiancé visa, you must be a US citizen. Fiancés of permanent residents with green cards are not eligible for a K-1 Fiancé visa and US fiancé visas are different than US visas for spouses.

Fiancé Visa - Family Based Green Cards
bottom of page