Foreign Bride Immigration Requirements
- The fiancée's visa automatically expires after 90 days.bride and groom holding hands, while bride holds b image by nextrecord from Fotolia.com
An American citizen who wishes to bring his foreign bride to the United States to marry must file a petition to allow his fiancée to travel to the U.S. Both parties must prove the authenticity of their relationship and that they are legally allowed to marry in the United States. As a general rule, the bride and the groom must have met in person. Some of the conditions where the bride may be ineligible for visa are practicing polygamy, submitting fraudulent documents or having HIV/AIDS. It normally takes nine to 12 months to process the fiancée's visa or K-1 nonimmigrant visa.
- Fill out Form I-129F, which can be downloaded from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. This form seeks information about the U.S. citizen and his fiancée and how they met. The form must be filed with the USCIS office serving the area where the American lives. If the fiancée has unmarried children under the age of 21, they may be included in the petition. The guide for filling out the form, which is also available at the USCIS website, enumerates the required documents such as birth certificate. The filing fee is $455.
- The U.S. citizen and his foreign bride must be legally free to marry, meaning neither is currently married. They must have met in person within two years before the petition is filed. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. One situation is if the personal meeting would violate long-established customs or culture of either party, or if the requirement would result in extreme hardship to the petitioner.
- Once it approves the petition, the USCIS sends it to the National Visa Center for processing before sending it to the embassy or consulate where the bride will apply for her K-1 visa. The embassy or consular office where the fiancée will apply for a visa will inform her of additional requirements. The fiancée will be asked to submit documents including a passport, birth certificate, police certificate, medical examination, visa application forms, photos and evidence of fiancé relationship. The embassy or consular office will schedule an interview with the fiancée during which a digital fingerprint scan will be taken. There may be more administrative work needed after the interview, before a consular officer grants or denies the visa application.
- The marriage must take place within 90 days upon entering the United States. If the marriage does not take place within this period, the fiancée must leave the U.S. at the end of 90 days, otherwise she may be deported and/or this may affect future eligibility for U.S. immigration.