Many individuals who are U.S. citizens have become engaged to marry before moving to this country. A natural consequence of this change in circumstances is the desire to bring the intended spouse to this country so that the couple can be married. The regulations of the Department of Homeland Security specify a clear pathway to making this happen.
The first requirement is a demonstration that the couple genuinely intends to marry and establish a life together. They must also rebut any inference that they are intending to marry simply to obtain an immigration benefit.
The couple must also demonstrate an intent to marry within 90 days after the foreign fiancé enters the United States. The fiancé who is a U.S. citizen must file Form No. I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé. This form requests the issuance of a K-1 non-immigrant visa to the foreign fiancé. The form asks questions intended to ascertain the pre-conditions outlined above.
Bringing the foreign fiancé to the United States
If the Immigration Customs and Enforcement Agency approves the Form No. 129-F, the form is sent to the DOS National Visa Center. The Visa Center forwards the approved 129 to the U.S. Embassy or consulate where the fiancé resides. A DOS consular officer determines whether the fiancé is eligible for a K-1 nonimmigrant visa. The nonimmigration visa is valid for 6 months. The couple then has 90 days to hold a marriage ceremony.
If the Form 129-F process results in a denial of the application to bring a foreign national to the United States for the purpose of marriage, CIS regulations permit the applicant to appeal the decision. While the process seems simple, it has many unanticipated complexities that may require an attorney’s assistance. In such instances, the advice of an experienced immigration attorney can be very helpful.