It wasn’t ever your intention to fall in love out of the country, but now that you have, there’s a problem you need to overcome. You want to go to the United States to be married, but there are regulations that require you to obtain a visa first.

If you can obtain this visa, you’ll be able to live as a resident for a period of time before you can file for permanent resident status.

What is a fiancé(e) under federal law?

Under U.S. immigration law, a fiancé is a person who is engaged to be married to a U.S. citizen. This individual must have already received a Petition for Alien Fiancés. This individual should also have received a K-1 visa to travel to the United States.

In most cases, the individuals must have met in person within the last two years. If not, the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) may deny the visa. The USCIS has the ability to waive the requirement in certain circumstances if you can show extreme hardship. For instance, cultural issues that prevent meeting before marriage could be seen as extreme hardship, as would being unable to travel due to health reasons.

Who can file for a fiancé(e) visa?

The U.S. citizen who is marrying the individual must file a Petition for Alien Fiancé(e). Follow the documents closely, because there are many requirements. Customs and Immigration want to see that the marriage will be legitimate, so it may ask for photographs, communications and other information to verify your relationship.

Once the visa is approved, you’ll receive a case number. You can follow the petition as it reaches the foreign country’s U.S. Embassy or Consulate with that number. Our website has more information.