If you are an American citizen you have two ways to bring your foreign spouse (husband or wife) to the United States to live. They are:
Immigrant visa for a Spouse of a U.S. Citizen (IR1 or CR1) – An immigrant Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130 is required.
Nonimmigrant visa for spouse (K-3) – It is important to note that application for the nonimmigrant visa for spouse (K-3) who married a U.S. citizen must be filed and the visa must be issued in the country where the marriage took place. After the visa process has been completed, and the visa is issued, the spouse can travel to the United States to wait for the processing of the immigrant visa case.
Two petitions are required:
Petition for Alien Relative, Form 1-130; and
Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), Form I-129F
Fiancé(e) – If you are an American citizen, you may bring your fiancé(e) to the United States tomarry and live here.
Nonimmigrant visa for fiancé(e) (K-1) – To travel to the United States for marriage. An
I-129F fiancé(e) petition is required.
What Is a “Fiancé(e)”?
A fiancé(e) is a person who is engaged or contracted to be married. The marriage must be legally possible according to laws of the state in the United States where the marriage will take place.
In general, the two people must have met in person within the past two years. The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants some exceptions to this requirement. For example, it may be contrary in some traditions for a man and woman to meet before marriage.
Sometimes the USCIS considers a person a “fiancé(e)” even though a marriage contract has been concluded. In such cases, the American citizen petitioner and his/her spouse have not met, and they have not consummated the marriage.
How Does a Fiancé(e) Visa Work?
If you are an American citizen and you want your foreign fiancé(e) to travel to the United States to marry you and live in the U.S., you must file Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) in the United States.
Filing the Petition
You must file the Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), Form I-129F, with the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office that serves the area where you live. See the Department of Homeland Security’s USCIS Field Offices for information on where you can file the petition. Note: You cannot file this petition at an embassy, consulate or U.S. immigration office abroad
After the USCIS approves the petition, it sends the petition to National Visa Center for processing, prior to sending it to the embassy or consulate where your fiancé(e) will apply for a K-1 nonimmigrant visa for a fiancé(e).
What Should I Know about International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA)?
Detailed information about the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) of 2005 petition requirements are shown in the new Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) instructions.
Extending the Petition
The I-129F petition is valid for four months from the date of approval from USCIS. Consular officers can extend the validity of the petition (revalidate the petition) if it expires before the processing of the visa application is completed.
A Fiancé(e) Is Also an Immigrant
Because a fiancé(e) visa permits the holder to immigrate to the U.S. and marry an American citizen shortly after arrival in the United States, the fiancé(e) must meet some of the requirements of an immigrant visa.
Applying for a Visa
The consular section at the embassy or consulate where you, the fiancé(e) of an American citizen, will apply for a visa, will tell you about any additional specific requirements that you need to fulfill to complete your visa application, such as where you need to go for the required medical examination. During the interview process, an ink-free, digital fingerprint scan will be taken. The following is required:
A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the United States.
Divorce or death certificate of any previous spouse for both the applicant and the petitioner
Police certificate from all places lived since age 16
Medical examination (vaccinations are optional, see below)
Evidence of financial support (Form I-134, Affidavit of Support may be requested.)
Two Nonimmigrant Visa Applications, Form DS-156 (A Form DS-156, prepared in duplicate.)
One Nonimmigrant Fiancé(e) Visa Application, Form DS-156K
Two nonimmigrant visa photos (each two inches 50 X 50 mm square, showing full face, against a light background)
Evidence of a fiancé relationship
Payment of fees, as explained below.
The consular officer may ask for additional information according to the circumstances of the case. Documents in foreign languages should be translated.
Take clear, legible photocopies of civil documents, such as birth and marriage certificates, to the interview. Original documents can then be returned to you.
Fees – How Much Does It Cost?
Fees are charged for the following services:
Filing an Alien Fiancé(e) Petition, Form I-129F
Nonimmigrant visa application processing fee
Medical examination (costs vary from post to post)
Fingerprinting fees, if required
Other costs may include translation and photocopying charges, fees for getting the documents required for the visa application (such as passport, police certificates, birth certificates, etc.), and expenses for travel to the embassy or consulate for an interview. Costs vary from country to country and case to case.
Filing Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status
For current fees for Department of State, government services select Fees.
All applicants for immigrant visas are required to have the following vaccinations, if appropriate, for age, medical condition, or medical history:
Tetanus and diptheria toxoids
Influenza type B
As a fiancé(e), you are not required to fulfill this requirement at the time of your medical examination for a fiancé(e) visa. However, you may want to do so. These vaccinations are required when you adjust status following your marriage.