Share

Immigration Law Blog

Monday, November 11, 2013

Immigration Process for a Foreign National Residing Abroad When Marrying a U.S. Citizen

Fiancé Visa

When a U.S. citizen is engaged to a foreign national who intends to reside in the United States, the U.S. citizen may apply for a K-1 “Fiancé" Visa.  The Fiancé Visa is a nonimmigrant visa, which allows a foreign national to enter the U.S. with the express purpose of marrying a U.S. citizen.  The visa is issued by a U.S. Consular Post in the country where the fiancé resides.  

To obtain a Fiancé Visa, the U.S. citizen must file a Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of his or her foreign fiancé, known as the “beneficiary.”  Once USCIS approves the petition, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC), which conducts a preliminary background check on the beneficiary.

Upon conclusion, the approved petition is forwarded to the beneficiary’s designated U.S. Consular Post, which reviews the available information and contacts the beneficiary with additional forms and document checklists needed to complete the process.  The beneficiary returns the completed forms, along with the requested documentation, to the U.S. Consular Post and undergoes a medical examination, prior to attending a visa application interview.  Although they are not required for issuance of the Fiancé Visa, foreign national fiancés are urged to obtain vaccinations generally required for immigrant visa applicants, since these vaccinations will be required in the application for an adjustment of status phase, following the marriage.

Once the nonimmigrant application is approved (typically, within one week, depending on consular resources), the U.S. Consular Post will return the beneficiary's passport containing the K-1 Fiancé visa, along with a sealed packet of various documents.  It is important that the packet remains sealed.  Only the DHS immigration official may open this packet when the foreign national enters the United States.  To activate the Fiancé Visa,  the beneficiary must travel to the U.S. within six months of the date the visa was issued.

Upon arrival in the United States, the holder of the Fiancé Visa should apply for a U.S. Social Security number and the couple should apply for a marriage license.  Different states have different requirements for obtaining a marriage license and some may impose deadlines or waiting periods between issuance of the license and the wedding ceremony.  Couples should carefully monitor the timelines following issuance of the Fiance visa.

The wedding ceremony must occur within 90 days of the date the Fiancé entered the U.S.  If the foreign national spouse is changing his/her name after the marriage, he/she should register the name change with the Social Security Administration (SSA) by presenting the newly-issued Social Security card together with the Marriage Certificate at a local SSA office.

 After the marriage takes place, the foreign national spouse must quickly apply for Adjustment of Status (AOS) to become a U.S. permanent resident. Concurrently with the AOS application, the foreign national spouse should also apply for employment and travel authorizations, which will allow him/her to temporarily travel outside of the U.S. or to work in the U.S. while the application for U.S. permanent resident status is pending. The AOS application must be submitted within 90 days of the U.S. entry, which is the period the Fiancé is lawfully admitted for when entering the U.S. using the Fiancé visa. If the foreign national spouse does not marry and file the AOS application within the 90 days, he/she is subject to removal (deportation) proceedings.

 As part of the adjustment of status application, it will be necessary for the foreign national fiancé/spouse to complete a confidential medical examination at one of the facilities approved by the USCIS.  To obtain a list of local approved doctors or clinics, the foreign national fiancé/spouse can call the USCIS National Customer Service Center (1-800-375-5283) or visit the USCIS website.  He/she should make arrangements for the exam as soon as possible.  He/she should take a Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, completed only in the section titled “Information About You,” along with his/her passport, to the medical exam for completion by the examining doctor.  The results of the exam will be returned in a sealed envelope that must remain sealed.  He/she should ensure that the doctor completes the item on immunization and that he/she is vaccinated, if necessary.

The Fiancé Visa application process is lengthy, involving many steps and various forms of documentation.  A qualified immigration attorney can help navigate the process and ensure all necessary requirements are met.


Archived Posts

2018
2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2015
2014
2013




© 2018 Fuller & Fuller LLP | Attorney Advertising
845 Third Ave., Suite 1700, New York, NY 10022-6601
| Phone: 212. 317.0700

Services Overview | Nonimmigrant Visas | Lawful Permanent Residence | I-9 Compliance | Naturalization (U.S. Citizenship) | Links & Resources | About Us

Law Firm Website Design by
Zola Creative