Congratulations on your engagement — the next step is getting your fiancé(e) here!
If you’re a U.S. citizen looking to bring your foreign fiancé(e) to the United States to get married, you’re going to need to file a Form I-129F, Petition For Alien Fiancé(e) in order for them to obtain a K-1 nonimmigrant visa.
You and your fiancé(e) must marry each other within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the U.S as a K-1 nonimmigrant. Your marriage must be entered in good-faith, meaning both you and your fiancé(e) have a real, true intent to establish a life together and are not marrying solely for immigration benefits.
If your fiancé(e) marries you within 90 days of being admitted to the United States as a K-1 nonimmigrant, he or she is then eligible to apply for lawful permanent resident status in the United States (a Green Card).
Depending on the circumstances of your particular case, you may want to skip the fiancé visa process altogether and go straight to getting married and applying for a spousal visa. This decision depends on where you reside, how long you wish to wait to be together, and numerous other factors.
If you’re already married, plan to marry outside the United States, or your fiancé(e) is already living legally in the United States, your spouse or fiancé(e) cannot apply for a fiancé(e) visa, but they may be eligible for a green card.
You may be eligible to bring your fiancé(e) to the United States on a fiancé(e) visa if you meet the following requirements:
The process begins with the filing of Form I-129F with USCIS. The primary purpose of this form is to establish the authenticity of the relationship.
The following supporting documents should be attached to the completed form as evidence:
Proof of citizenship for the U.S. citizen fiancé (copy of a passport, certificate of naturalization, or birth certificate)
After the form and supporting documents are filed at the appropriate address, you should expect a notice of receipt within 30 days. If the USCIS determines they need more information, they’ll also send a Request for Evidence (RFE). Once the Form I-129F is approved, USCIS will send a notice of approval.
Within 30 days of the sponsorship form’s approval, the sponsored fiancé will receive a notice from the U.S. embassy in their home country, stating the date and location of their visa interview alongside a list of required documents.
The sponsored fiancé must then complete the State Department’s online DS-160 form (technically called the “Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application”). This is the actual K-1 visa application, and it’s very important to print the confirmation page once the form’s been submitted.
The State Department asks for the following documents:
On to the interview!
The visa interview usually happens at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in the sponsored fiancé’s home country about 4–6 weeks after the embassy’s notice.
The interviewing officer is likely to make a decision on the case on the day of the interview itself or shortly afterward. If they need more information, it’ll have to be provided directly to the U.S. consulate.
Once you’ve met all the requirements and the K-1 visa is approved, the sponsored fiancé has a total of six months from the date of approval of the initial I-129F form to arrive to the United States.
The couple must then be married within 90 days, or the sponsored fiancé will lose their K-1 status. If the couple decides not to get married, the sponsored partner will not be eligible to remain in the United States and must leave the U.S. immediately.