Immigration

Fiance Visa FAQ



Q: Can my fiancé(e) travel outside the United States?

  • A:If you're applying for adjustment to permanent resident status, you must receive advance permission to return to the United States if you are traveling outside the United States. This advance permission is called "advance parole." If you don't apply for advance parole before you leave the country, you'll abandon your application with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (previously INS) and you may not be permitted to return to the United States.



Q: How do I bring my fiancé to the United States?

  • A:If your fiancé(e) is not a citizen of the United States and you plan to get married in the United States, then you must file a petition with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (previously INS) on behalf of your fiancé(e). After the petition is approved, your fiancé(e) must obtain a visa (K1) issued at a U.S. Embassy or consulate abroad. The marriage must take place within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the United States. If the marriage does not take place within 90 days or your fiancé(e) marries someone other than you (the U.S. citizen filing INS Form I-129F - Petition for Alien fiancé), your fiancé(e) will be required to leave the United States. Until the marriage takes place, your fiancé(e) is considered a nonimmigrant. A nonimmigrant is a foreign national seeking to temporarily enter the United States for a specific purpose. A fiancé(e) may not obtain an extension of the 90-day original nonimmigrant admission. Please note that legal permanent residents may not file petitions for fiancé visas. They must marry abroad and then file an I-130 petition for the immigration of a new spouse.

    If your fiancé(e) intends to live and work permanently in the United States, your fiancé(e) should apply to become a permanent resident after your marriage. (If your fiancé(e) does not intend to become a permanent resident after your marriage, your fiancé(e)/new spouse must leave the country within the 90-day original nonimmigrant admission.) Your fiancé(e) will initially receive conditional permanent residence status for two years. Conditional permanent residency is granted when the marriage creating the relationship is less than two years old at the time of adjustment to permanent residence status.

    Your fiancé(e) may enter the United States only one time with a fiancé(e) visa. If your fiancé(e) leaves the country before you're married, your fiancé(e) may not be allowed back into the United States without a new visa.



Q: How do I remove the conditions on permanent residence based on marriage?

  • A:A lawful permanent resident is given the privilege of living and working in the United States permanently. Your permanent residence status will be conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than two years old on the day you were given permanent residence. You are given conditional resident status on the day you are lawfully admitted to the United States on an immigrant visa or receive adjustment of status. Your permanent resident status is conditional, because you must prove that you did not get married to evade the immigration laws of the United States:

    • You and your spouse must apply together to remove the conditions on your residence. You should apply during the 90 days before your second anniversary as a conditional resident. The expiration date on your alien registration card (commonly know as green card) is also the date of your second anniversary as a conditional resident. If you do not apply to remove the conditions in time, you could lose your conditional resident status and be removed from the country.
    • If you are no longer married to your spouse, or if you have been battered or abused by your spouse, you can apply to waive the joint filing requirement. In such cases, you may apply to remove the conditions on your permanent residence any time after you become a conditional resident, but before you are removed from the country.
    • If your child received conditional resident status within 90 days of when you did, then your child may be included in your application to remove the conditions on permanent residence. Your child must file a separate application if your child received conditional resident status more than 90 days after you did.



Q: Is anyone determined ineligible for the visa?

  • A:Applicants who aren't eligible for a visa include those who:

    • Have a communicable disease
    • Have a dangerous physical or mental disorder
    • Are drug addicts
    • Have committed serious criminal acts, including crimes involving moral turpitude, drug trafficking, and prostitution
    • Are likely to become a public charge
    • Have used fraud or other illegal means to enter the United States
    • Are ineligible for citizenship

    The two-year foreign residency requirement for former exchange visitors is also applicable. The consular officer will advise an ineligible applicant if the law provides for a waiver.



Q: My fiancé has children. Can I bring them over too?

  • A:The unmarried, minor children (under 21) of a K-1 beneficiary derive "K-2" nonimmigrant visa status from the parent, so long as the children are named in the petition. A separate petition is not required if the children accompany or follow the alien fiancé(e) within one year from the date of issuance of the K-1 visa. Thereafter, a separate immigrant visa petition is required.



Q: My petition for a fiancé(e) visa was denied. What can I do?

  • A:If your petition for a fiancé(e) visa is denied, the denial letter will tell you how to appeal. Generally, you may appeal within 33 days of receiving the denial by mail. Your appeal must be filed on Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (previously INS) Form I-290B. The appeal must be filed with the office that made the original decision. After your appeal form and a required fee are processed, the appeal will be referred to the Administrative Appeals Unit ("AAU") in Washington, DC. Sending the appeal and fee directly to the AAU will delay the process.



Q: What documents are generally required?

  • A:The consular officer will notify the beneficiary when the approved petition is received and provide the beneficiary with the necessary forms and instructions to apply for a "K" visa. A fiancé(e) visa applicant is an intending immigrant and, therefore, must meet documentary requirements similar to the requirements of an immigrant visa applicant. The following documents are normally required:

    • Valid passport
    • Birth certificate
    • Divorce or death certificate of any previous spouse
    • Police certificate from all places lived since age 16
    • Medical examination
    • Evidence of support
    • Evidence of a valid relationship with the petitioner
    • Photographs (according to specifications)



Q: What if a United States citizen marries abroad?

  • A:If a U.S. citizen marries an alien abroad, an I-130 petition must be filed after the marriage to begin the immigration process for the alien spouse. This can be filed either with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (previously INS) in the United States, or, under certain circumstances, at U.S. Embassies or Consulates abroad. U.S. Embassies and Consulates have differing policies on approving I-130s and should be individually contacted about the availability of this service. Many posts have their own web pages that include this information.

    Prior to departure from this country, the U.S. citizen should contact the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (previously INS) or appropriate foreign service post to ascertain exactly what documents will be necessary to file the immigrant petition for a new spouse. For more information about this option, see the Bureau of Consular Affairs' brochure Tips for U.S. Visas: Family-Based Immigrants. For more information on how to arrange a legally valid marriage abroad, see the Office of Citizens Consular Services' brochure Marriage of U.S. Citizens Abroad.



Q: What if I am Late in Applying to Remove the Conditions on Residence?

  • A:If you fail to properly file the Form I-751 (Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence) within the 90-day period before your second anniversary as a conditional resident, your conditional resident status will automatically be terminated and the Service will order removal proceedings against you. You will receive a notice from the Service telling you that you have failed to remove the conditions, and you will also receive a Notice to Appear at a hearing. At the hearing you may review and rebut the evidence against you. You are responsible for proving that you complied with the requirements (the Service is not responsible for proving that you did not comply with the requirements).

    The Form I-751 can be filed after the 90-day period if you can prove in writing to the director of the Regional Service Center that there was good cause for failing to file the petition on time. The director has the discretion to approve the petition and restore your permanent resident status.



Q: Who is eligible to apply to remove the conditions on permanent residence based on marriage?

  • A:You may apply to remove your conditions on permanent residence if:

    • You are still married to the same U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident after two years (your children may be included in your application if they got their conditional resident status at the same time that you did or within 90 days)
    • You are a child and cannot be included in the application of your parents for a valid reason
    • You are a widow or widower of a marriage that was entered into in good faith
    • You entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage was ended through divorce or annulment
    • You entered into a marriage in good faith, but either you or your child were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse
    • The termination of your conditional resident status would cause extreme hardship to you



Q: Will my fiancé be able to get a work permit?

  • A:After arriving in the United States, your fiancé(e) will be eligible to apply for a work permit. (You should note that the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (previously INS) might not be able to process the work permit within the 90-day time limit for your marriage to take place.) Your fiancé(e) should use Form I-765 to apply for a work permit. If your fiancé(e) applies for adjustment to permanent resident status, your fiancé(e) must re-apply for a new work permit after the marriage.

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