1. What is the definition of Fiance?

A fiance 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 "fiance" 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.

2. What's the difference between immigrant and non-immigrant visa?

There are two types of Visas, immigrant and non-immigrant. In an immigrant visa, the applicant is applying for permanent residence in the United States. With a nonimmigrant visa, the applicant is visiting the United States for a temporary period of time for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary study or temporary work.

3. What can be given as proof of a Fiancé relationship?

Some examples of evidence are family and other photographs (old and recent) showing the couple together, letters, cards, correspondence, and telephone records.

4. Can a K-1 Visa Holder Leave the United States?

The K-1 visa allows a fiance to enter the United States one time only. If you leave the United States after entering on a K-1 visa, you may not re-enter on the same visa. If you want to leave and re-enter the United States, you should apply with Form I-131 Application for Travel Document to the USCIS office that serves the area where you live for advance parole to return to the United States. See Emergency Travel for information on how to get a travel document that allows you to return to the United States.

5. Can a K-1 Visa Holder Work in the United States?

As a K-1 visa holder you may file Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization with the USCIS office that serves the area where you live for a work permit (employment authorization document).

Download I-765 Employment Authorization Form

6. What to do if my fiance has children that I want to come to the US?

The child of a fiance may receive a derivative K-2 visa from his/her parent's fiance petition. You, the American citizen petitioner, must make sure that you name the child in the I-129F petition. After the marriage of the child's parent and the American citizen, the child will need a separate form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status. The child may travel with (accompany) the K-1 parent/fiance or travel later (follow-to-join) within one year from the date of issuance of the K-1 visa to his/her parent. A separate petition is not required if the children accompany or follow the alien fiance within one year from the date of issuance of the K-1 visa. If it is longer than one year from the date of visa issuance, a separate immigrant visa petition is required.

Remember that in immigration law a child must be unmarried. The stepparent/stepchild relationship must be created before the child reaches the age of 18.

7. Can My Fiance Travel Outside the United States?

If you are applying for adjustment to permanent resident status, you must receive advance permission to return to the United States if you are traveling outside the United States. This advance permission is called Advance Parole. If you do not apply for Advance Parole before you leave the country, you will abandon your application with Immigration and you may not be permitted to return to the United States. For more information, please see How Do I Get a Travel Document?.

8. How Long Does It Take?

The length of time varies from case to case according to its circumstances. Some cases are delayed because the applicant does not follow instructions carefully or supplies incomplete information. (It is important to give correct addresses and telephone numbers.) In addition, the embassy or consulate may need to get security clearances for the applicant. Security clearances take time.

9. Will My Fiance Get a Work Permit?

After arriving in the United States, your fiance will be eligible to apply for a work permit. (You should note that USCIS might not be able to process the work permit within the 90-day time limit for your marriage to take place.) Your fiance should use Form I-765 to apply for a work permit. Please see How Do I Get a Work Permit? for more information. If your fiance applies for adjustment to permanent resident status, your fiance must re-apply for a new work permit after the marriage.

10. How Can I Check the Status of My Application?

Please contact the USCIS office that received your application. You should be prepared to provide the USCIS staff with specific information about your application. Please click here for complete instructions on checking the status of your visa petition.

11. What if my visa is denied? How can I appeal?

If your petition for a fiance visa is denied, the denial letter will tell you how to appeal. Generally, you may appeal within 33 days of receiving the denial by mail. Your appeal must be filed on USCIS Form I-290B. The appeal must be filed with the office that made the original decision. After your appeal form and a required fee are processed, the appeal will be referred to the Administrative Appeals Unit (AAU) in Washington, DC. (Sending the appeal and fee directly to the AAU will delay the process.)

12. I have Further Questions.

If advice is needed, you may contact the USCIS District Office near you for a list of community-based, non-profit organizations that may be able to assist you in applying for an immigration benefit. You can visit the USCIS field offices home page for more information on contacting USCIS offices. In addition, the USCIS Webpage provides information on obtaining free legal advice.

13. Social Security for US Immigrants

Your fiance can apply for a social security number card. There are many advantages of having a social security number card the sooner the better.

A permanent resident of the United States needs a Social Security number to:

  • Work in the United States
  • Conduct business with a bank or financial institution
  • Pay taxes or to be claimed on a tax return
  • And for other purposes not listed.

>> Refer to the Social Security Website for further instructions

14. What Should I Know about International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA)?

If you met your fiance or spouse through the services of an international marriage broker, you must notify USCIS of that fact by answering Question 19 on the form I-129F. The term international marriage broker means a corporation, partnership, business, individual, or other legal entity, whether or not organized under any law of the United States, that charges fees for providing dating, matrimonial, matchmaking services, or social referrals between United States citizens or nationals or aliens lawfully admitted to the United States as lawful permanent residents and foreign national clients by providing personal contact information or otherwise facilitating communication between individuals. For additional IMBRA requirements, see Form I-129F.

Download the Form I-129F

15. Is there a Filing Limitation on K Non-immigrant Petitions?

If you have filed two or more K-1 visa petitions at any time in the past or previously had a K-1 visa petition approved within two years prior to the filing of the current petition, you must apply for a waiver. To request a waiver you must submit a written request with this petition accompanied by documentation of your claim to the waiver.

If you have committed a violent offense against a person, USCIS may not grant such a waiver unless you can demonstrate that extraordinary circumstances exist. For details regarding those circumstances, see Form 129F.

Download the Form I-129F

16. What if I, the US citizen, don't have the required documents for filing the K-1 petition?

You can instead give USCIS the following secondary evidence. However, USCIS may request in writing that you obtain a statement from the appropriate civil authority certifying that the needed document is not available. Any evidence submitted must contain enough information, such as a birth date, to establish the event you are trying to prove.

  • Baptismal Certificate
    A copy, front and back, of the certificate under the seal of the church, synagogue or other religious entity showing where the baptism, dedication or comparable rite occurred, as well as the date and place of the child's birth, date of baptism and names of the child's parents. The baptism must have occurred within two months after the birth of the child.
  • School Record
    A letter from the school authority (preferably from the first school attended), showing the date of admission to the school, child's date or age at that time, place of birth and the names of the parents.
  • Census Record
    State or Federal census record showing the name(s), date(s) and place(s) of birth or age(s) of the person(s) listed.
  • Affidavits
    Written statements sworn to or affirmed by two persons who were living at the time and who have personal knowledge of the event. For example, an event such as a birth, marriage or death. The persons making the affidavits may be relatives and do not have to be citizens of the United States. Each affidavit should contain the person's full name and address, date and place of birth, and relationship to you and must fully describe the event and explain how he or she acquired knowledge of the event.

17. What Are the Penalties for Giving False Information?

Title 18, United States Code, Section 100 states that whoever will fully and knowingly falsifies a material fact, makes a false statement or makes use of a false document will be fined up to $10,000 or imprisoned up to five years, or both.

18. What Are the Penalties for Marriage Fraud?

Title 8, United States Code, Section 1325 states that any person who knowingly enters into a marriage contract for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws shall be imprisoned for not more than five years or fined not more than $250,000, or both.

19. What if my visa is denied? How can I appeal?

If your petition for a fiance visa is denied, the denial letter will tell you how to appeal. Generally, you may appeal within 33 days of receiving the denial by mail. Your appeal must be filed on USCIS Form I-290B. The appeal must be filed with the office that made the original decision. After your appeal form and a required fee are processed, the appeal will be referred to the Administrative Appeals Unit (AAU) in Washington, DC. (Sending the appeal and fee directly to the AAU will delay the process.)