How To Get Your Fiancée To The United States
There is nothing more exciting than planning for your wedding day! This should be one of the most joyous times in your life and something that you look back on fondly.
But, if you're an international couple with a non-citizen fiancée, you know you have more to planning to do than choosing a venue or the ceremony or writing your guest list. That’s because you must also plan a way to bring your fiancée into the United States for the wedding. That’s going to require filing a fiancée visa petition with the immigration services.
Just thinking about the prospect of it may put a dark cloud over your otherwise euphoric mood because complicated paperwork and legalese is probably the last thing you want to be dealing with right now.
There is hope. Over the past 10 years, I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the happiest international couples. Yet one key challenges they all face is how to get their fiancée here legally. If this is one of the challenges you are facing, there are three insights I would like to share with you to help resolve this challenge.
Do these 3 things to get your fiancee to the US
The first step is to meet your fiancée in person before you start filing immigration paperwork for her. Many of my most successful clients first met online and fell in love over the internet. A lot of them knew they had met the one and did feel the need for an in person visit before becoming engaged. But the requirement for meeting your fiancée in person is strictly enforced by the immigration services. While there are exceptions for those with severe disabilities or military deployments, getting an exception granted is incredibly difficult. Being unable to travel because of lack of money, being on parole or not having a passport would not come even close to meeting the requirements for a waiver. If you haven’t already visited your fiancée, it’s time to plan a trip.
The second step is to make sure you are both legally free to marry. This means any prior divorces must be documented. If a previous marriage ended due to the death of your spouse, you’ll need documents for that as well. Prior marriages are not the most pleasant topic when you are newly engaged, but if you understand each other’s marriage history you will be prepared. In some cases, you may learn your fiancée is considered legally married in her home country or that divorces are not granted there. A few times my own clients have discovered their own United States divorces were not properly filed. These problems can usually be solved, but it’s important to identify the challenge early.
Finally, choose your ideal wedding date, but be flexible. The immigration process can easily take a year or more in some cases. Also, once your fiancée enters the United States you will only be allowed 90 days to get married before her visa expires. That may seem like a lot of time to you right now, but trust me, those days are going to fly by! Ask yourself where you want to hold your ceremony, who else will you invite, do those family members need to apply for visas as well? You may find there’s a lot more planning needed than what you can do in three months. One critical word of advice: do not plan a destination wedding or honeymoon outside the United States unless you don’t plan to have your fiancée return with you. That’s because the fiancée visa can only be used one time and is void when your fiancée departs the United States. You may have seen news stories about the bride being trapped on a Caribbean island or Mexico after her destination wedding. It’s a terrible way to end a joyous occasion!
Is your fiancée from a foreign country? If you would like to discuss how to successfully bring her to the United States for marriage, contact me to help you get started. Some of most successful international marriages begin with a conversation just like this one.