Bureau of Consular Affairs
American Citizen-Foreign National Marriages:
Marriage In the United States: Fiance Visa
U.S. citizens may file an I-129F petition with INS for the issuance of a K-1 fiance visa to an alien fiance. A citizen exercising this option must remain unmarried until the arrival of the fiance in the U.S., and the wedding must take place within three months of the fiance's arrival if he/she is to remain in status. Also, the alien and U.S. citizen must have met personally at least once in the two years before the petition was filed. For more information about K-1 visas see the Bureau of Consular Affairs' brochure Tips For U.S. Visas: Fiance(e)s. Please note that legal permanent residents may not file petitions for fiance visas. They must marry abroad and then file an I-130 petition for the immigration of a new spouse.
Marriage Abroad: Alien-Spouse Visa
If a U.S. citizen marries an alien abroad, an I-130 petition must be filed after the marriage to begin the immigration process for the alien spouse. This can be filed either with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in the United States, or, under certain circumstances, at U.S. Embassies or Consulates abroad. U.S. Embassies and Consulates have differing policies on approving I-130s and should be individually contacted about the availability of this service. Many posts have their own web pages which include this information and which can be accessed through the U.S. Embassy and Consulate links page. Prior to departure from this country, the U.S. citizen should contact the INS or appropriate foreign service post to ascertain exactly what documents will be necessary to file the immigrant petition for a new spouse. For more information about this option, see the Bureau of Consular Affairs' brochure Tips for U.S. Visas: Family-Based Immigrants. For more information on how to arrange a legally valid marriage abroad, see the Office of Citizens Consular Services' brochure Marriage of U.S. Citizens Abroad.