The decision to get married is one that is generally celebrated and is the stepping stone to the actual act of getting married. The engagement is exciting for all parties, including family who want to participate in the wedding festivities. However, when one of the parties that are getting married is not from the U.S., how can they come to the U.S. legally to get married? Common knowledge is that U.S. citizens, and even Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) can petition their spouses to come to the U.S., but how about fiancés?
If a lawful marriage in the foreign national’s home country is not feasible, a fiancé visa may be the best option for the future spouse. The fiancé visa process starts with the future spouse petitioning for them in the U.S. There is an important caveat with this however: only U.S. citizens can petition for a fiancé! That means LPRs cannot petition for a fiancé, and would have to either naturalize before petitioning a future spouse, or marrying the person and then petitioning them as a spouse.
Once a petition has been approved, the petition will go to the National Visa Center, and then to the Consulate in the fiancé’s country of origin. Then, the fiancé will go to a visa interview, where the fiancé will need to show the validity of the relationship to the future spouse, among other technical requirements. Hopefully the visa will be approved and the fiancé can come to the U.S. as soon as possible.
Now, there are very important requirements once the fiancé arrives in the U.S. First, the U.S. citizen petitioner and the fiancé must marry within 90 days of the fiancé entering the U.S. Not getting married within that time can mean that the fiancé visa is revoked and the fiancé will need to return to their native country. Once the marriage is complete, the newly married spouse can then apply for adjustment of status and obtain LPR status.
The fiancé visa is a viable method to bring your foreign national fiancé to the U.S. This process also can include any children of the fiancé that are under 21 years of age. Although this article may simplify this process, the fiancé visa can be quite complicated, so speak to a knowledgeable attorney if this option seems like a good one for you and your fiancé.