Visas for Fiancé(e)s of U.S. Citizens
If you are a U.S. citizen who wants to bring your foreign fiancé(e) to the United States in order to get married, you will need to file a Form I-129F, Petition For Alien Fiancé(e). This is the first step to obtaining a K-1 nonimmigrant visa for your fiancé(e). The K-1 nonimmigrant visa is also known as a fiancé(e) visa.
In order to obtain a K-1 fiancé(e) visa, you and your fiancé(e) must intend to marry each other within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the U.S as a K-1 nonimmigrant. Your marriage must be valid, meaning both you and your fiancé(e) have a bona fide intent to establish a life together and the marriage is not for the sole purpose of obtaining an immigration benefit.
If your fiancé(e) marries you within 90 days of being admitted to the United States as a K-1 nonimmigrant, he or she may apply for lawful permanent resident status in the United States (a Green Card).
If you have already married, plan to marry outside the United States, or your fiancé(e) is already residing legally in the United States, your spouse or fiancé(e) is not eligible for a fiancé(e) visa. Go to the Bringing Spouses to Live in the United States as Permanent Residents page for more information about how to help your foreign national spouse apply for a Green Card.
Eligibility for Fiancé(e) Visas
You may be eligible to bring your fiancé(e) to the United States on a fiancé(e) visa if you meet the following requirements:
- You are a U.S. citizen;
- You and your fiancé(e) intend to marry one another within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s admission to the United States on a K-1 nonimmigrant visa;
- You and your fiancé(e) are both legally free to marry (this means you both are legally able to marry in the United States and any previous marriages have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment); and
You and your fiancé(e) met each other in person at least once within the 2-year period before you file your petition. You may request a waiver of this in-person meeting requirement if you can show that meeting in person would:
- Violate strict and long-established customs of your fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice; or
- Result in extreme hardship to you, the U.S. citizen petitioner.
Process for Bringing your Fiancé(e) to the United States
The process for bringing your fiancé(e) to the United States involves USCIS, the U.S. Department of State (DOS), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). At each stage in the process, background and security checks may be conducted on both you and your fiancé(e). This may include checks in various databases for national security, criminal history, and other information about you and your fiancé(e). These checks are conducted using fingerprints, names, or other biographic or biometric information.
Step 1: Petition for Fiancé(e) – USCIS
- You file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) according to the form instructions. This form asks USCIS to recognize the relationship between you and your fiancé(e).
- We review your Form I-129F and the documents you submitted. We may mail you a request for evidence if we need additional documentation or information.
- If you establish your eligibility, we approve your Form I-129F and recognize the claimed fiancé(e) relationship. Otherwise, we deny your Form I-129F and notify you of the reasons for denial.
- We send the approved Form I-129F to the DOS National Visa Center (NVC).
For additional information about filing the petition, see the Form I-129F and form instructions.
Step 2: Visa Application – DOS
- The NVC forwards the approved Form I-129F to the U.S. Embassy or consulate where your fiancé(e) will apply for a K-1 nonimmigrant visa. This is generally the U.S. Embassy or consulate where your fiancé(e) lives.
- The U.S. Embassy or consulate notifies you when the visa interview for your fiancé(e) is scheduled.
- Your fiancé(e) applies for the K-1 nonimmigrant visa and brings the required forms and documents to the visa interview.
The DOS consular officer determines whether your fiancé(e) qualifies for the K-1 nonimmigrant visa.
- If the consular officer grants the K-1 nonimmigrant visa, it is valid for up to 6 months for a single entry.
- If the consular officer does not find the relationship to be bona fide, DOS will not issue a K-1 nonimmigrant visa and instead will return the Form I-129F to USCIS. Generally, if DOS returns a Form I-129F to us after it has expired, we will allow it to remain expired. However, you may choose to file a new Form I‑129F.
For additional information about applying for a visa, see the DOS Nonimmigrant Visa for a Fiancé(e) page.
Step 3: Inspection at a Port of Entry – CBP
If DOS issues a K-1 nonimmigrant visa, your fiancé(e) travels to the United States and seeks admission at a port of entry while the K-1 nonimmigrant visa is valid. As with any visa, a K-1 nonimmigrant visa does not guarantee admission to the United States. A CBP officer at the port of entry will make the ultimate decision about whether to admit your fiancé(e).
Step 4: Marriage
If your fiancé(e) is admitted as a K-1 nonimmigrant, you and your fiancé(e) have 90 days to marry each other.
Step 5: Adjustment of Status – USCIS
- If you marry within 90 days, your fiancé(e)—now your spouse—may apply for a Green Card by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
- We review Form I-485 and the documents your spouse submitted. We may mail a request for evidence to your spouse if we need additional documentation or information.
- You and your spouse will usually be required to appear for an interview.
- If you were married for less than two years at the time the Form I-485 is approved, USCIS will grant your spouse conditional permanent resident status and issue a Green Card valid for 2 years. Your spouse will need to remove the conditions on his or her residence by filing Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence in the 90 days before his or her Green Card expires.
For additional information about removing the conditions on your spouse’s conditional permanent residence, see the Form I-751 page and the Remove Conditions on Permanent Residence Based on Marriage page.
Each case is different and the length of the process varies. USCIS processes fiancé(e) petitions in the order we receive them. For more information about current processing times for the Form I-129F, see the Check Processing Times page.
Children of Fiancé(e)s
If your fiancé(e) has a child who is under 21 and unmarried, the child may be eligible to come to the United States on a K-2 nonimmigrant visa. You must include the names of your fiancé(e)’s children on the Form I-129F if you wish to bring them to the United States. The children must continue to be unmarried and under 21 in order to be admitted to the United States as K-2 nonimmigrants. They may travel with your fiancé(e) or later, but they cannot travel to the U.S. before your fiancé(e).
If you and your fiancé(e) married within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s admission into the U.S., your fiancé(e)’s children who were admitted as K-2 nonimmigrants may also apply for a Green Card by filing Form I-485 with USCIS. However, K-2 nonimmigrant children must remain unmarried in order to be eligible for a Green Card. K-2 nonimmigrant children should apply for a Green Card at the same time or after your fiancé(e).
Permission to Work
After being admitted to the U.S. on a K-1 nonimmigrant visa, your fiancé(e) may immediately apply for evidence of work authorization by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. In this case, your fiancé(e)’s work authorization is valid for only 90 days after his or her entry into the U.S.
Your fiancé(e) may also apply for work authorization at the same time he or she applies for a Green Card. In this case, your fiancé(e) can file Form I-765 together with the Form I-485. In this case, your fiancé(e)’s work authorization is valid for one year and may be extended in one-year increments.
Failure to Marry Within 90 Days
K-1 and K-2 nonimmigrant status automatically expires after 90 days and cannot be extended. Generally, your fiancé(e) and his or her children must leave the United States at the end of the 90 days if you do not marry. If they do not depart, they will be in violation of U.S. immigration law. This may result in removal (deportation) and could affect their future eligibility for U.S. immigration benefits.
However, if you marry your fiancé(e) after the 90 day period, you may file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. Go to the Bringing Spouses to Live in the United States as Permanent Residents page for more information about how to help your foreign spouse get a Green Card. Generally, your fiancé(e) may not apply for a Green Card on any other basis besides marriage to you.
If you are being forced into a marriage or being forced to file a petition to bring a fiancé(e) to the United States, go to the Forced Marriage page to learn about the options available to you.
How to report suspected marriage fraud: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has an online tip form to report suspected benefit/marriage fraud or other violations.