Spouses and Fiancé(e)s of U.S. Citizens
- Can I transmit citizenship to my spouse?
- I intend to marry/I am married to an American citizen; we plan to move to the United States. What do we do?
- My American citizen fiancé(e) is sponsoring me for immigration; does it matter where we get married?
- Which is quicker to process, an immigrant or a fiancé(e) visa?
- My spouse was granted conditional resident status; what do we do to have the status removed?
- I have a partner/common-law spouse who is an U.S. citizen.
- My fiancé(e) and I will not marry within 90 days of our arrival. Can he/she still apply for a fiancé(e) visa?
- Can we file the fiancé(e) visa petition while my fiancé(e) is temporarily visiting me in the U.S.?
- Can we apply for the fiancé(e) visa while my fiancé(e) is in the United States?
- If I cannot file a petition for fiancé(e) how can he/she reside with me in the United States?
- Can my fiancé(e) work in the United States before we marry?
- My fiancé(e) is still married; can we apply for a fiancé(e) visa?
- We only wish to travel to the United States to marry. We will return to Sweden after marriage. Do we still need a fiancé(e) visa?
- Can I enter the United States on a fiancé(e) visa, marry and then leave the United States for my honeymoon?
- Can I travel to the United States while my application for an immigrant or fiancé(e) visa is being processed?
- What is a K-3 visa?
No, a United States citizen cannot transmit citizenship to a spouse. If your spouse wishes to relocate with you to the United States, he/she will require an immigrant visa.
If the alien fiancé(e) plans to marry in the United States, a fiancé(e), (K-1), petition must be filed by the American citizen in the United States with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office where he/she resides, before the alien fiancé(e) enters the U.S. Once the petition is approved, it is forwarded to the Embassy with jurisdiction over the case. Upon receipt of an approved petition, the U.S. Embassy will reach out to applicant regarding the next step in the process. The time period for the processing of a fiancé(e), K-1, petition is approximately five to eight months.
A fiancé(e) visa will allow the alien to enter the United States with the intent to marry. The marriage must take place within 90 days after arrival in the United States. After the marriage takes place, the alien spouse must apply to the USCIS to change status. During this time period, the alien must not leave the United States until the immigration process has been finalized and residency has been granted. USCIS provides details at its website: www.uscis.gov
If you are already married and intend to move to the United States in the near future then the American citizen spouse must file the immediate relative petition, form I-130. Please note that the I-130 petition must be filed with the Citizenship and Immigration Services in the U.S., even if the American citizen would be residing abroad.
If you wish to marry in the United States and take up indefinite residence there after marriage, you require a fiancé(e) visa. If you wish to marry outside the United States and travel to the United States to take up residence, you will require an immigrant visa.
The time it takes to process a visa application varies with each individual case. However, in general, a fiancé(e) visa application may be slightly quicker than an application for an immigrant visa, as immigrant visa petitions tend to take longer to process and be approved by the USCIS in the United States. If the time factor is of importance, the U.S. petitioner should contact the USCIS where he/she will file the petition to ascertain processing times before deciding on applying for a fiancé(e) or immigrant visa.
You and your spouse are required to file a petition I-751, with the office of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to have the conditional resident status removed. The petition must be filed 90 days before the second anniversary of your spouse being admitted into the United States on an immigrant visa, or adjusting his or her status on marriage, if he/she entered on a fiancé(e) visa. The form can be obtained from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Please note that the I-751 cannot be filed with the U.S. Embassy.
U.S. immigration law does not recognize common-law marriages. A U.S. citizen cannot file an immigrant visa petition for a partner in the immediate relative category as the spouse of U.S. citizen, or a fiancé(e) visa petition. You will be required to apply for an immigrant visa either in one of the employment based preference categories or through the Diversity Visa Program, commonly known as the lottery.
No. If the marriage will not take place within 90 days of the fiancé(e) visa applicant's arrival in the United States, it will not be possible to process an application for a fiancé(e) visa. An immigrant visa will be required. Visa free travel under the Visa Waiver Program or a Nonimmigrant visitor or work visa is not appropriate.
Yes. You can file the petition while your alien fiancé(e) is visiting you but your fiancé(e) must leave the U.S. before his/her visa expires. In addition, your fiancé(e) must also finalize the application at the U.S. Embassy abroad.
No. An applicant for a fiancé(e) visa must apply for the fiancé(e) at an American Embassy or Consular Section outside the U.S., as he or she is required to enter the United States on the visa.
Your fiancé(e) will be required to qualify for a visa either in one of the employment based preference categories, or through the Diversity Visa Program commonly known as the lottery.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant permission for the alien fiancé(e) to take up employment in the United States before the marriage takes place. To obtain employment authorization your fiancé(e) will need to file form I-765 with the USCIS Service Center which covers his or her place of residence in the U.S after his or her arrival there. Questions concerning employment authorization should be directed to USCIS.
No. The fiancé(e) visa petition cannot be filed until you are both legally free to marry. Therefore, you will be required to wait until your fiancé(e)'s divorce is finalized.
The fiancé(e) visa does not apply in this case. A person traveling to the United States to marry an American citizen with the intention of returning to his/her place of permanent residence abroad, may apply for a visitor (B-2) visa, or if eligible, travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program (please note the mandatory ESTA registration). Evidence of a residence abroad to which the B-2 visa holder or visa free traveler intends returning should be carried for presentation to an officer of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at the port of entry.
On marriage, you must contact United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for further information. If you leave the United States without first obtaining permission from the USCIS to re-enter the country (Advance parole), you will be required to apply for an immigrant visa in order to return.
If you intend taking up permanent residence in the U.S., you are required to wait until the immigrant or fiancé(e) visa is issued. You cannot reside in the U.S. on a tourist visa or visa free under the Visa Waiver Program while waiting the issuance of an immigrant or fiancé(e) visa. However, if you wish to make a temporary visit at the end of which you will return to your permanent residence outside the United States, you may travel on a tourist (B-2) visa, or visa free under the Visa Waiver Program, if qualified.
If applying for a B-2 visa, you are required to furnish evidence of your residence outside the United States to which you intend returning at the end of your temporary stay. Although a pending immigrant or fiancé(e) visa application is not necessarily conclusive evidence of intent to abandon a Swedish residence, it is a factor considered by consular officers reviewing a visa application. If you are unable to convince the consular officer reviewing the application that you do not intend abandoning your residence, you will not be issued a visa.
When traveling to the U.S. either with a visa or visa free under the Visa Waiver Program, you should be sure to carry with you for presentation to U.S. immigration, evidence of your residence outside the U.S. If the immigration inspector is not convinced that you are a bona fide visitor for pleasure, you will be denied entry into the United States.
The Embassy cannot guarantee, prior any alien's arrival at a U.S. port-of-entry, whether or not they would be granted permission to enter the U.S. This decision rests entirely with the Immigration Officer at the port of entry.
Immigration law allows the spouse of a U.S. citizen and his or her minor children to be admitted to the United States as non-immigrants while they are waiting for the processing for permanent residence to be completed with the Citizenship and Immigration Services in the U.S. It also allows them to obtain employment authorization while they are waiting.
To be eligible for a K-3 nonimmigrant visa, an individual must:
- Be married to a U.S. citizen
- Have a U.S. citizen spouse file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative with the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the U.S. Once USCIS has sent the U.S. citizen a receipt of receiving I-130 petition, the U.S. citizen may file an additional form I-129F (petition for a K-3 visa) on behalf of his/her alien spouse. Please note that the I-129F is also filed with the Citizenship and Immigration Services in the U.S.
The processing time varies and the U.S. petitioner should consult his/her USCIS office for an accurate processing time. The U.S. Embassy has however noted that most I-129F petitions for a K-3 visas are processed within the same time frame as the actual I-130 petition.
Foreign nationals who seek permanent residence in the United States and receive an immigrant visa will need to pay a USCIS Immigrant Fee beginning February 1, 2013.
Learn more about the rights and responsibilities of lawful permanent residents in our new pamphlet entitled
"Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants" (PDF 1.56 MB)