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Fiancé(e) Visas

This page provides information for U.S. citizens wishing to bring a foreign national fiancé(e) living abroad to the United States to marry.

If you plan to marry a foreign national outside the United States or your fiancé(e) is already residing legally in the United States, you do not need to file for a fiancé(e) visa. See the “Green Card” link to the right.

Application Process

Eligibility Requirements

If you petition for a fiancé(e) visa, you must show that:

  • You (the petitioner) are a U.S. citizen.
  • You intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the United States.
  • You and your fiancé(e) are both free to marry and any previous marriages must have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment.
  • You met each other, in person, at least once within 2 years of filing your petition. There are two exceptions that require a waiver:
    1. If the requirement to meet would violate strict and long-established customs of your or your fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice.
    2. If you prove that the requirement to meet would result in extreme hardship to you.

After the Fiancé(e) Visa is Issued

Once issued, the fiancé(e) visa (or K-1 nonimmigrant visa) allows your fiancé(e) to enter the United States for 90 days so that your marriage ceremony can take place. Once you marry, your spouse may apply for permanent residence and remain in the United States while USCIS processes the application. For additional information, see the “Green Card” section.

Treatment of I-129F petitions where the Department of State (DOS) refuses to issue the K-1 visa and returns the expired petition to USCIS.

Once USCIS receives a consular returned I-129F for K-1 classification from DOS and the petition has expired in accordance with 8 CFR214.2(k)(5), USCIS will allow the petition to remain expired and will not reaffirm or reopen the petition.  Therefore, the petition will expire in normal course.  Please note that this will not preclude the petitioner from filing another petition.

Children of Fiancé(e)s

If your fiancé(e) has a child (under 21 and unmarried), a K-2 nonimmigrant visa may be available to him or her. Be sure to include the names of your fiancé(e)’s children on your Form I-129F petition.

Permission to Work

After admission, your fiancé(e) may immediately apply for permission to work by filing a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with the USCIS Service Center having jurisdiction over your place of residence. Any work authorization based on a nonimmigrant fiancé (e) visa would be valid for only 90 days after entry. However, your fiancé (e) would also be eligible to apply for an extended work authorization at the same time as he or she files for permanent residence. In this case, your fiancé(e) would file Form I-765 together with Form I-485 as soon as you marry. 

What happens if we do not marry within 90 days?

Fiancé(e) status automatically expires after 90 days. It cannot be extended. Your fiancé(e) should leave the United States at the end of the 90 days if you do not marry. If your fiancé(e) does not depart, he or she will be in violation of U.S. immigration law. This may result in removal (deportation) and/or could affect future eligibility for U.S. immigration benefits.

We want to make plans for our wedding. How long will this process take?

Each case is different, please check the current processing times for the I-129F petition, see the “Check Processing Times” page.  We process fiancé(e) petitions in the order we receive them. Once we complete our processing, your approved petition is then forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will then send the petition to the U.S. Embassy or consulate, which will need time to process your fiancé(e) for a visa.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/02/2012