The immigration laws provide a nonimmigrant visa classification (K-1) for individuals coming to the United States to marry American citizens.
Procedurally, an American citizen must file a petition on Form I-129F, Petition for Relative or Fianci, with the Regional Service Center of the Immigration and Naturalization Service having jurisdiction over the place of the petitioner's residence in the United States.
Once approved, the fianci petition will be forwarded by INS to the American consular office where the alien fianci will apply for his/her visa. Once the INS approves the fianci petition, the American consular office will notify the beneficiary and give him/her the necessary forms and instructions to apply for a K-1 visa. The fianci must apply for the actual visa at the United States consulate within four months of the visa petition's approval, unless extensions are requested and granted.
Both petitioner and beneficiary must be legally able and willing to conclude a valid marriage in the United States. The petitioner and beneficiary must have previously met in person within the past two years unless the Attorney General waives that requirement.
As soon as the processing if a case is completed and the applicant has all the necessary documents, a consular officer will interview the fianci. If found eligible, a visa will be issued. The visa will be valid for one entry during a period of six months. The petitioner and beneficiary must marry within ninety days after entering the United States. The INS will automatically grant the non-citizen fianci permission to work at the time of his/her entry for the ninety-day period of his/her visa. After the marriage, the INS may grant the fianci employment authorization while his/her adjustment application is pending, if he/she files a specific request for permission to work.