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Petitioning to bring a foreign fiance into the U.S.

South Carolina residents with a penchant for travel may happen to fall in love with someone residing in a foreign country. U.S. citizens who become engaged to non-U.S. citizens or residents may ultimately want to reside with their fiancé in South Carolina or elsewhere in the country. If a U.S. citizen becomes engaged to a foreign national while that person is living outside of the U.S., the American citizen can try to bring that fiancé to the U.S. by filing a Form I-129F, also known as a Petition for Alien Fiancé.

Citizen petitioners need to demonstrate that they intend to marry their fiancés within 90 days of the fiancée's entry into the U.S. The petitioner must also show that both persons to be wed are in fact free to marry, that is, that neither of them is still legally married to any other person.

If petitioners cannot demonstrate that they have met with their fiancés in person at least once within two years of filing the petition, the petitioners will need to show that the absence of such an in-person visit was because a visit would have violated strict and long-established customs of one of the engaged person's cultures or social practices. Alternatively, a petitioner may try to demonstrate that meeting this particular requirement would have resulted in extreme hardship for the petitioner.

If a U.S. citizen's foreign fiancé has a child, that child may be eligible for a K-2 non-immigrant visa, although a citizen petitioner should also include the names of any foreign children on the Form I-129F. Once a fiancé enters the U.S., that person may immediately apply for permission to work. As these regulations are strict and complex, those persons who need help going through the process of petitioning for a fiancé's entry into the country may want to speak with an immigration attorney.

Source: United States Department of Homeland Security, "Fiancé(e) Visas", September 04, 2014

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