Petition via Fiancé(e)

Route

Nonimmigrant Visas

Description

A Fiancé(e) petition is the initial phase of a complex multi-step process for a Migrant fiancé(e) to enter the United States and adjust status to a lawful permanent resident. The petition is initially filed by the U.S. citizen with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) while the Migrant fiancé(e) remains outside of the United States. Once approved, the petition will get transferred to the U.S. embassy or consular office abroad for further processing.

Generally, to process a fiancé(e) petition, the U.S. citizen and Migrant fiancé(e) must adhere to strict eligibility requirements. One of the most important requirements is to demonstrate that the U.S. citizen and Migrant fiancé(e) intend to marry within ninety (90) days upon entry into the United States. Additionally, they must establish that they have met in person within the 2 years prior to filing the petition. Although the in-person meeting is a requirement, USCIS does allow for certain exceptions to take place such as an extreme hardship incurred by the U.S. citizen and/or a conflict to the Migrant fiancé(e)’s culture or established customs. A fiancé(e) petition generally requires various supporting documentation to establish a good-faith relationship.

The fiancé(e) petition will be initially submitted for review and a Notice of Receipt will be issued by USCIS. While the petition is pending, additional documentation may be requested by USCIS to supplement any deficiencies in the application. Upon approval, USCIS will transfer the case to the assigned U.S. embassy or consular office abroad for further processing. The assigned embassy or consular office abroad will contact the U.S. citizen and/or Migrant fiancé(e) to advise on current embassy processing times, documentation and/or procedures required to secure a consular interview. The Migrant fiancé(e) may be required to submit electronic documentation via the Department of State National Visa Center (NVC) and/or through an embassy’s portal prior to a consular interview.

It is crucial to adhere to all instructions and guidance provided in all correspondence from the U.S. embassy or consular office abroad. The Migrant fiancé(e), in addition to any derivative dependent(s), may be required to provide updated documentation as well as the results of  a medical examination at an in-person consular interview. Medical examinations must be performed by an authorized civil surgeon and compliance with all vaccination(s) is required prior to any scheduled consular interview.

In the event that the case is approved at the interview, the U.S. embassy or consular office abroad will retain the corresponding passport(s) for the purpose of issuing a K-1 visa. Once again, it is crucial to adhere to all instructions and guidance provided at the interview to secure proper collection of passport(s) and/or documentation needed for proper entry to the United States. Upon initial entry under a K-1 visa status, the U.S. citizen and the Migrant fiancé(e) will have ninety (90) days to comply with the marriage requirement. Compliance with the marriage requirement permits the Migrant fiancé(e) to apply for adjustment of status and an employment authorization document with USCIS while residing in the United States. Unfortunately, if compliance with the marriage requirement is not met, the Migrant fiancé(e) should arrange to return to her country of origin prior to the expiration of the K-1 visa.

Benefits

The initial filing with USCIS or the approval of a K-1 visa status at a U.S. embassy or consular office abroad does not grant the Migrant fiancé(e) an immediate immigration benefit in the United States. Indeed, the Migrant fiancé(e) must successfully navigate through the multi-step process and obtain approval of an adjustment of status in the United States to obtain a green card.  While the application is pending with USCIS, the Migrant fiancé(e) will be able to obtain an employment authorization document as well as an assigned social security card pursuant to a pending adjustment of status application.

Upon approval of an adjustment of status application via marriage, the Migrant fiancé(e) is granted lawful status as a conditional resident due to the marriage occurring within 2-years of approval. As a result of the 2-year expiration period, the Migrant fiancé(e) will then be required to submit a subsequent filing to remove the conditions on the green card and obtain status as a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

Derivative Dependents

A U.S. citizen may file a petition on behalf of Migrant fiancé(e) and include all biological and/or stepchildren (under 21 years of age and unmarried) under the same petition. However, prior to a consular interview, independent documentation may be required for each eligible derivative dependent. Additionally, at the adjustment of status phase, the Migrant fiancé(e) and derivative dependents are generally required to file independent applications to apply for a green card.

Process Description

Petitioning on behalf of a Migrant fiancé(e) is a multi-step process that involves agencies like the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of State National Visa Center (NVC) as well as U.S. embassy or consular office abroad. The fiancé(e) petition process and timeframes vary depending on the agencies’ internal policies for handling fiancé(e) applications. Individuals are encouraged to visit USCIS’ website to obtain up-to-date estimated case processing times for fiancé(e) petitions.

Unfavorable Circumstances

For some individuals, immigration is a complex process to navigate through due to the strict requirements and interpretation of the law. A Migrant fiancé(e)’s criminal history and/or previous immigration history related to illegal entries, prior deportations, and/or previous immigration benefit denials may negatively impact a petition and its results. Although some factors may not necessarily affect eligibility or have immigration consequences, it is best to consult with an attorney to confirm eligibility and to establish best course of action. An attorney may be able to assess the Migrant fiancé(e)’s circumstances accordingly to the law, immigration bars, and/or restrictions.

Relevant Links List

Name Description Website
DoS Visa Bulletin Board This website contains details regarding the U.S. Department of State (DoS) visa availability based on relief categories. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin.html
USCIS Processing Times Website contains details regarding immigration cases processing times. https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/

Citations

Fiancé(e) petitions are processed and adjudicated under strict eligibility. Certain relevant laws and regulations are specified under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and/or U.S. Code. Some of the applicable laws and regulations include:

Citations List

Citations Description Section Title
8 CFR § 214.2 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) establishes regulations imposed by the Federal Government of the United States. Special Requirements for Admission, Extension, and Maintenance of Status
22 CFR § 41.81 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) establishes regulations imposed by the Federal Government of the United States. Fiancée or Spouse of a U.S. Citizen and Derivative Children
INA § 101(a)(15)(K)(i) Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is a federal law that establishes immigration, naturalization, and exclusion of aliens. Definitions
INA § 212 Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is a federal law that establishes immigration, naturalization, and exclusion of aliens. General Classes of Aliens Ineligible to Receive Visas and Ineligible for Admission; Waivers of Inadmissibility
8 U.S.C. § 1182 The U.S. Code (USC) contain general and permanent laws of the United States. Inadmissible Aliens
8 U.S.C. § 1184 The U.S. Code (USC) contain general and permanent laws of the United States. Admission of Nonimmigrants
8 U.S.C. § 1375 The U.S. Code (USC) contain general and permanent laws of the United States. Domestic violence information and resources for immigrants and regulation of international marriage brokers

Forms

Related Forms List

Name Description No. Fee
Affidavit of Support On a case-by-case scenario, an Affidavit of Support may be required for filing with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and/or the Department of State National Visa Center (NVC). I-134 $0
Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA On a case-by-case scenario, an Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA may be required for filing with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and/or the Department of State National Visa Center (NVC). I-864 $0
Application for Employment Authorization An Application for Employment Authorization form should be filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the purpose of the Migrant Spouse to obtain an employment authorization document. The filing fee may be waived if it's an initial request under adjustment of status). I-765 $410
Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status An Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status form should be filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the purpose of the Migrant Spouse to obtain a green card. I-485 $750 - $1,225
Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application A Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application is required for online submission by the Department of State National Visa Center (NVC). The form DS-160 is only accessible via the Consular Electronic Center portal. DS-160 $0
Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) A Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) should be filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the purpose of petitioning on behalf of a Migrant Fiancé(e). I-129 $535
Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record A medical examination form is to be completed by the Migrant Spouse and the authorized civil surgeon to establish admissibility under health grounds. I-693 $0

Supporting Documents

For an initial filing of a fiancé(e) petition, the U.S. citizen and the Migrant fiancé(e) must generally provide supporting documentation to establish intent to marry within ninety (90) days of entry in the United States as well as proof of a bona fide relationship that may include communication and encounters during a 2-year period prior to the submission of a petition. If an International Marriage Broker (IMB) was used to meet and connect with the Migrant fiancé(e), then additional documentation must generally be submitted to comply with the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 (IMBRA).

Standard supporting documentation to be filed as part of the fiancé(e) petition, may include:

Supporting Documents List

Name Description
Personal Documentation Personal documentation must be submitted to verify the Sponsor's and Migrant's identity. Personal documentation includes birth certificates, passport biographical pages, identification IDs. All documentation must be in compliance with the U.S. Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs which requirements vary by country.
Proof of Bona Fide Relationship
Proof of Intent to Marry Upon Entry to the U.S.
Proof of Previous Marriage(s) Termination
U.S. Legal Status Verification Proof of legal status is required to ensure Sponsor's eligibility. Sponsor may provide a valid U.S. passport, U.S. birth certificate and/or a U.S. naturalization certificate.