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My fiancé is not a U.S. citizen. Can we still get married here?

Here in the United States, you are free to fall in love with and marry whomever you choose without government intervention. That is, unless your fiancé is not a U.S. citizen, in which case, you will need government approval for your fiancé to enter the country, reside in Brooklyn as a permanent resident and ultimately become a citizen.

Obtaining a fiancé visa (Form I-129F) takes time under the best of circumstances, so it would be beneficial to involve an immigration attorney to help ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.

What is a fiancé visa?

A fiancé visa allows your intended spouse to enter the United States legally and reside here for 90 days. During that time, you may get married. Once you are married, your new spouse may request permanent residency by filing an Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status (Form I-485).

A fiancé visa automatically expires on day 91. If you are not married before the expiration of the visa, your fiancé must leave the country because it cannot be extended. In this instance, if your fiancé does not leave the country, it could jeopardize any future bids to return.

What are the requirements for a fiancé visa?

In order to obtain a fiancé visa, you must show the following:

  • You are a United States citizen
  • You are both free to marry
  • You and your fiancé have met in person sometime in the last two years, except under the following circumstances:
    • Your or your fiance's social practice or foreign culture forbid you to meet prior to the wedding
    • You prove it would be an extreme hardship for you to meet your fiancé prior to being granted the visa
  • You intend to be married within the 90 day time limit
  • If your fiancé has a child under the age of 21 that is not married, you could add the child's name to your petition.

My fiancé wants to work upon entering the country. Is that possible?

Yes, but it will be necessary for him or her to obtain permission to work. Upon arrival, he or she may file an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-785), but will only be valid for 90 days. An extension may be filed when you petition for your new spouse to be granted permanent residency.

Understandably, it can be difficult to plan a wedding when you are unsure when your fiancé visa will be granted. This is just another reason to involve an attorney in the process who can help keep things on track. The important thing is to be sure that your fiancé enters the country legally in order to avoid complications, and possible deportation, in the future.

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