Fiancés of American citizens can come to the United States before getting married.
Bringing Your Fiancé to the United States
If your fiancé is not a citizen of the United States and you plan to get married in the United States, then you must file a petition with USCIS on behalf of your fiancé. After the petition is approved, your fiancé must obtain a visa issued at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.
The marriage must take place within 90 days of your fiancé entering the United States.
If the marriage does not take place within 90 days or your fiancé marries someone other than you (the U.S. citizen filing USCIS Form I-129F – Petition for Alien Fiancé, your fiancé will be required to leave the United States. Until the marriage takes place, your fiancé is considered a nonimmigrant.
A nonimmigrant is a foreign national seeking to temporarily enter the United States for a specific purpose. A fiancé may not obtain an extension of the 90-day original nonimmigrant admission.
If your fiancé intends to live and work permanently in the United States, he or she should apply to become a permanent resident after your marriage.
If your fiancé does not intend to become a permanent resident after your marriage, your fiancé/new spouse must leave the country within the 90-day original nonimmigrant admission.
A fiancé will initially receive conditional permanent residence status for two years. Conditional permanent residency is granted when the marriage creating the relationship is less than two years old at the time of adjustment to permanent residence status.
Your fiancé may enter the United States only one time on a fiancé visa. If he or she leaves the U.S. before you are married, your fiancé may not be allowed back into the United States without a new visa.
Eligibility for a Fiance Visa
U.S. citizens who will be getting married to a foreign national in the United States may petition for a fiancé classification (K-1) for their fiancé. You and your fiancé must be free to marry. This means that both of you are unmarried, or that any previous marriages have ended through divorce, annulment or death. You must also have met with your fiancé in person within the last two years before filing for the fiancé visa. This requirement can be waived only if meeting your fiancé in person would violate long-established customs or traditions, or if meeting your fiancé would create an extreme hardship for you. You and your fiancé must marry within 90 days of your fiancé entering the United States.
You may also apply to bring your fiancé’s unmarried children, who are under age 21, to the United States.
Applying for a Fiance Visa
To find out how you can apply to bring your fiancé(e) to the United States, please see Application Procedures, which will help you identify what you need to do. Fiancé petitions are filed at the USCIS Service Center serving your area of residence.
Getting a Work Permit
After arriving in the United States, your fiancé) will be eligible to apply for a work permit. (You should note that USCIS might not be able to process the work permit within the 90-day time limit for your marriage to take place.) Your fiancé should use Form I-765 to apply for a work permit.
If your fiancé applies for adjustment to permanent resident status, then your fiancé must re-apply for a new work permit after the marriage.
Appealing a Denial of a Fiance Visa
If your petition for a fiancé visa is denied, the denial letter will tell you how to appeal. Generally, you may appeal within 33 days of receiving the denial by mail. Your appeal must be filed on USCIS Form I-290B. The appeal must be filed with the office that made the original decision. After your appeal form and a required fee are processed, the appeal will be referred to the Administrative Appeals Unit (AAU) in Washington, DC. (Sending the appeal and fee directly to the AAU will delay the process.)