Bringing a spouse or fiance to the US

by George Barron

An American citizen or permanent resident may petition to bring family members into the United States, including fiancés or spouses.


United States immigration law permits citizens and permanent residents to petition to bring their alien fiancés into the United States for purposes of marriage. In order to obtain a fiancé visa for the alien, the petitioning party must prove several things. The petitioning must establish that he or she is in fact the United States citizen, and that he or she has the financial resources to provide support for the intending alien fiancé. If the petitioning party does not have sufficient financial resources, he or she may have a third party provide financial support. The third party would have to agree in writing to provide such financial support in the event it is needed.

The petitioner and the intending immigrant fiancé must provide evidence that they both intend to get married within 90 days of the fiancés arrival in the United States. This is accomplished through a written and signed statement that tells the USCIS that the party’s intend to marry.

In addition, the petitioning party and the alien fiancé must provide evidence that they have met face-to-face, at least once in the two years prior to the visa application. This is usually accomplished through photographs and/or travel documents establishing that one of the party’s has traveled to the place of residence of the other party. In addition, the petitioning party must agree in the application documents that he or she did not use the services of a professional marriage in establishing the relationship with the intending alien fiancé.

The initial application is sent to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Once the case is approved there, it is transferred to the National Visa Center, a subsidiary agency of the Department of State. The Department of State upon approval of the petition will forward the case file to the United States counseled in the intending alien’s home country. At that point, the intending alien will be responsible for obtaining additional evidence, including evidence regarding his or her criminal legal history and/or health concerns. The amount of time the process takes depends heavily upon the sufficiency of the consular office in the intending immigrant’s country, and is very difficult to predict.

Once the fiancé visa is issued, the intending alien may travel to the United States. As stated above, the petitioner and the intending alien must marry within 90 days. The intending alien may not marry any other individual other then the individual who petition for his or her visa.

Once the party’s are married, they should begin the process of obtaining a permanent resident status for the intending alien.

Spousal Visa

The process for bringing a spouse into the United States is slightly different. Instead of providing evidence of that the party’s agree to marry and are eligible to marry, the applicant for s spousal visa must show that the party’s are already married. Once the marriage is established, the process unfolds in a manner similar to that of a fiancé visa. As with a fiancé visa, once the spousal in the United States the party’s should immediately apply to adjust the attending alien’s status to that of a permanent resident.

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