How can a U.S. Citizen to help her/his Fiancé(e) apply for a Green Card?

If you are a U.S. citizen and your Fiancé(e) is a non-U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you can help your fiancé(e) obtain permanent residence in different ways.

If your fiancé(e) is overseas...
One way is to apply for a fiancé(e) visa and you can marry in the United States. This visa lets your fiancé(e) enter the United States for 90 days so that your marriage ceremony can take place in the United States. Once you marry, your spouse can apply for permanent residence and remain in the United States while we process the application. If you choose this method, file a Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e). If the I-129F is approved, it will be sent to the National Visa Center, which will process and forward it to the U.S. Embassy or consulate nearest your fiancé(e)'s foreign place of residence. The embassy or consulate will then invite your fiancé(e) to apply for the actual fiancé(e) visa.

Another way is to marry your fiancé(e) overseas. If you marry overseas, you can then file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for your new spouse. For more information about the I-130 relative petition for a spouse, please see customer guide A1, I Am a U.S. Citizen...How Do I...Help My Relative Become a Permanent Resident of the United States?

If your fiancé(e) is already in the United States
If your fiancé(e) is in a legal immigration status and you want to marry in the United States, please see customer guide A1 about filing an I-130 relative petition after you marry.

What are the basic eligibility requirements for a fiancé(e) petition?

You must be a U.S. citizen to file a fiancé(e) petition. In your petition, you must show that:
• You are a U.S. citizen;
• You and your fiancé(e) intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the United States;
• You are both free to marry; and
• You have met each other in person within 2 years before you file this petition. However, there are two exceptions which require a waiver:
– If the requirement to meet your fiancé(e) in person would violate strict and long-established customs of your or your fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice; or
– If you prove that the requirement to personally meet your fiancé(e) would result in extreme hardship to you.

If I choose the fiancé(e) visa option, how does my fiancé(e) obtain permanent resident status?

Your fiancé(e) will need to enter the United States with a fiancé(e) visa. Once admitted to the United States with a K-1 visa, your fiancé(e) will be authorized to stay for 90 days during which you are permitted to marry. As soon as you marry, your spouse may apply for permanent residence by filing a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status, and mailing it to:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
P.O. Box 805887
Chicago, IL 60680-4120

My fiancé(e) has a child. May the child come to the United States with my fiancé(e)?

If the child is under 21 years old and is not married, a K-2 visa may be available to him or her. Be sure to include the name(s) of your fiancé(e)’s child(ren) on your I-129F fiancé(e) petition.

Can my fiancé(e) work in the United States while on a fiancé(e) visa?

After admission, your fiancé(e) usually does not have a work permit automatically with a K1 visa a. Though USCIS says that he or she may immediately apply for Employment Authorization by filing Form I-765, the filling fee is $380 and it takes about 90 days to get a I-765 while the K-1 visa won’t last that long. Therefore, no one does that. It’s better to apply for an extended work authorization at the same time as he or she files for permanent residence. In this case, your fiancé(e) would file Form I-765 together with Form I-485 as soon as you marry.
a “Work Authorization
K1 visa holders are technically "work authorized" for the 90-day period of the foreign fiancé(e)'s I-94, but they still need proof of this to fufill the requirements of form I-9. This proof, for a K1 visa holder, comes in the form of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). A K1 visa holder can apply for an EAD under category (a)(6) on form I-765, but the resulting EAD only covers the validity period of the holder's I-94 (i.e. 90 days), it costs $340 and can take up to 90 days for the application to be adjudicated and the card received. For this reason, very few K1 visa holders opt for this temporary EAD upon arrival. If the K1 visa holder arrives into the United States at John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport in New York, they may be able to get their I-94 stamped with a temporary stamp which acts as an EAD. Again, this is only covers the 90 validity period of the I-94, but it is given on arrival. Note: Not all K1 visa holders obtain this stamp from JFK Airport when they arrive. If the temporary stamp is not given, politely ask for it while you are in secondary processing. Because not all K1 visa holders manage to obtain work authorization until they adjust their status and receive their 1 year EAD or Green Card, it is probably a good idea to assume that the foreign fiancé(e) will be unable to work for a few months after entering the United States. The best advice is to plan and prepare for this period of unemployment.” - Source from

What if my fiancé(e) uses a different kind of visa, or enters as a visitor without visa, to come here so we can marry?

There could be serious problems for your fiancé(e) if he or she enters the United States on another visa with the intention of marrying and residing here. Attempting to obtain a visa or entering the United States by saying one thing when you intend another may be considered immigration fraud, for which there are serious penalties. Those penalties include restricting a person’s ability to obtain immigration benefits, including permanent residence, as well as a possible fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment of up to 5 years.

What if my fiancé(e) is already in the United States in another status and we decide to marry now?

If your fiancé(e) is in the United States and entered using a visa other than a fiancé(e) visa, and you marry, then you may file an I-130 relative petition for him or her as your spouse. He or she may be able to file Form I-485 along with your petition. For more information about the I-130 relative petition, please see customer guide A1.
If your fiancé(e) is in the United States and entered unlawfully, in most cases he or she will not be able to adjust status to that of a permanent resident while in the United States. In this situation, once you marry, you may file an I-130 relative petition for him or her as your spouse. If approved, he or she will have to pursue an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or consulate overseas.

What if we are engaged but have not yet decided to marry?

The fiancé(e) visa is a temporary visa that simply permits your fiancé(e) to enter the United States so that the two of you can marry in the United States within the 90 days permitted from the date of entry. It is not a way for you to bring a person here so you can get to know one another, or spend more time together to decide whether or not you want to marry.

What happens if we do not marry within 90 days?

Fiancé(e) status automatically expires after 90 days. It cannot be extended. Your fiancé(e) should leave the United States at the end of the 90 days if you do not marry. If your fiancé(e) does not depart, he or she would violate U.S. immigration law. This could affect future eligibility for U.S. immigration benefits.

We want to make plans for our wedding. How long will this process take?

Each case is different. Please check our website for our current processing times for the I-129F petition. USCIS processes fiancé(e) petitions are processed in the order them are arrived. Once the processing is done, your approved petition is then forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will then send the petition to the U.S. Embassy or consulate, which will need time to process your fiancé(e) for a visa.