Starting your new life and bringing your fiancé, who is a foreign national, to the U.S. for your wedding takes a bit of planning, and can require some patience. There are strict guidelines for admittance on a K-1 or Fiancé Visa. Let’s look at some of these legal requirements, and explain what you need to complete and file your I-129F application (Petition for Alien Fiancé).

Who Files for the Fiancé Visa?

If you are a U.S. citizen, you are the petitioner that must initiate the request to have your fiancé enter the United States. You must show proof of your U.S. citizenship when you petition for the visa

Are You Eligible to Be Married?

You must guarantee that you are both free to marry. You should be able to produce proof that any earlier marriages that either or you entered were ended legally by death, divorce, or annulment. If either of you has a divorce action pending, you must wait until it is legally completed before you start your application for the fiancé visa.

When Do You Intend to Marry?

If your fiancé enters the country on a K-1 visa, your marriage ceremony must take place within 90 days of their entry into the country. You will make a declaration that you intend to marry within this timeframe as you make application for the visa.

What if I Haven’t Seen My Fiancéfor a While?

You need to show proof that you have seen each other in person in the last two years preceding the filing of your application. Now, certain exceptions apply to this legal requirement. They are:

  1. If it is a standard custom of you, or your fiancé’s culture or social practice, not to meet within the two years preceding the marriage, this requirement may not be necessary, but you will need to file a waiver to have it removed.
  2. You can also prove that you are unable to meet without incurring extreme hardship, financial or otherwise. This is the other exception that you can file a waiver for during the application process.

Other than these two exceptions, it is expected that you have maintained a personal relationship with each other in preparation for your marriage. So, be prepared to show photos, travel itineraries, and other documentation to prove you have seen each other in person in the last 24 months.

What About My Fiancé’s Children…Can They Come into the Country as Well?

If your fiancé has a child, or children, that are under the age of 21, and are unmarried, they may be granted a K-2 nonimmigrant visa. If this is something that you’re interested in, be certain that you put the names of the children on your Form I-129F when you apply for the fiancé visa.

It’s a Lot to Pull Together

Regulations are strict, and there are a lot of moving parts to be aware of and understand. That’s why many people will seek the help of a qualified fiancé visa attorney when they are considering filing government petitions in the immigration process. If you file, and then your application gets rejected, more time must be spent waiting to refile. If you are uncertain, get the help you need from an experienced fiancé visa lawyer, especially if it’s a complicated situation.