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How does my non-American fiancé enter the country?

Falling in love might just be one of the best parts of life. When you decide to solidify that love by getting married, your attentions turn to planning the wedding of your dreams. You struggle with the same decisions everyone else does, but in your case, you also need to bring your non-American fiancé into the country. This adds another item to your list that will more than likely overshadow your other decisions.

You should know that the process takes time and planning to ensure that your soon-to-be spouse enters the country in time for the wedding. A fiancé visa only lasts for 90 days. Done too early, the visa could expire before the wedding. Done too late, and your fiancé could miss the wedding.

What does the process entail?

The length of the process varies depending on the circumstances. You should consider your wedding date in order to determine the best time to begin the process. Obtaining a visa for your fiancé involves the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, so you can see why it takes a while.

Before you even file a request for a fiancé visa, the government requires the following steps:

1. You file a petition with USCIS for recognition of your fiancé.

2. USCIS reviews the petition to determine the following:

a. That you and your fiancé can legally marry.

b. That you will marry within 90 days of his or her arrival in the country.

c. That within the last two years the two of you met face-to-face.

3. USCIS performs a background check on each of you.

4. USCIS either approves or denies your petition. This approval does not allow your fiancé to enter the country. It merely acknowledges that a valid relationship exists between the two of you.

5. The petition then goes to the DOS National Visa Center. That agency then sends it to the relevant consulate or embassy in the area where your fiancé lives.

After successfully completing these steps, your fiancé then applies for a K-1 visa.

What is the process for obtaining a K-1 visa?

Once the National Visa Center obtains the petition, you and your fiancé must complete the next set of steps:

1. You will receive a notification from the NVC regarding when to apply for the visa.

2. Your fiancé submits the visa application, along with proof of identity, proof of your relationship and the results of a medical examination performed by a doctor approved by the NVC.

3. The DOS conducts a thorough background investigation and an interview.

4. The DOS determines if any reason exists to deny the visa.

5. Once the DOS issues the visa, your fiancé must use it within six months.

The visa allows your fiancé to enter the country one time, so timing is everything, especially since obtaining a visa does not necessarily guarantee the right to enter.

So, what happens when my fiancé wants to enter the United States?

Before the visa expires, your fiancé must travel to America. At the point of entry, the CBP then takes biometrics, submits queries to verify background and documentation, and conducts an interview. Once admitted, you and your fiancé must marry within 90 days. After the marriage, you must take additional steps for your husband or wife to remain in the country legally.

As you can see, the process can be arduous and complicated. To help ensure success, you would more than likely benefit from enlisting the services of a Georgia immigration attorney.

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