Immigration: Fiancée or Spousal Visa
The Fiancée - Spousal Visa Process
Marrying a foreign national is a completely different experience than marrying a citizen or resident of the United States. In the United States, you go down to the license bureau, apply for a marriage license, and then tie the knot. When joining your life with an alien spouse, marriage alone does not automatically allow you to be together in the United States. The United States government must be petitioned to permit your spouse to live with you in the United States. When a foreign marriage occurs the American spouse must file a Petition for Alien Relative and endure many months or even years of separation from his new spouse while the petition is approved and finally processed at the foreign consulate abroad.
A citizen of the United States has an additional option available to him: the fiancée visa. The US citizen can petition for a visa for his alien fiancée to allow her admission the United States for a period of ninety days to allow for them to prepare for their marriage and life together. The fiancée process can be completed in a much shorter time period than a spousal petition. Upon entry into the United States, the fiancée is only permitted to remain for a period of ninety days. There are no extensions allowed. During the admission to the United States, the fiancée will receive employment authorization from the INS. The petitioner and beneficiary must marry with the ninety-day window or the beneficiary must leave the United States.
If marriage to the petitioner occurs, the married couple will then apply for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident at the INS district office in their area. If the marriage does not occur and the fiancée returns to her home country within the ninety-day period, then the gentleman retains his eligibility to pursue his options with other potential spouses in the future. This is intended to provide general information on the visa process. There are many other factors it this complex and ever changing area of the law. For information concerning alien fiancées, alien relatives, adjustment of status, or any other immigration problem, you may consult our staff. We can answer your questions and assist you in your immigration matters.