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Marrying a Foreigner
Understand the Legal Process and Requirements

Love Can Be Found Around the World

Love knows no borders. With high-speed global communication and international travel, couples of different nationalities are becoming more common. But what happens if you want to return to the United States to marry? The U.S. has strict laws about who can enter the country and when. If you and your partner wish to reside in the U.S., you’ll first have to go through the immigration process.


Obtain the Proper Visa

There’s a designated visa for fiancés of U.S. citizens and green card holders. It’s called the K-1 non-immigrant visa. You can begin the process by filing a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services via Form I-129F. Once you’ve submitted this paperwork, your significant other must attend an interview at the U.S. Consulate in his or her resident country. After a successful interview, the government can issue a visa.

Meet All the Requirements

If a United States citizen wants to bring a future spouse to the U.S., they must be able to prove that they can support him or her after arriving inside the country. This support must exceed the U.S. Poverty Guideline’s definition of the poverty line, and the citizen must be able to sustain this support for 10 years. If a citizen can’t do this alone, they may be able to include the fiancé’s assets or find someone else to promise support.

Get Help from a Lawyer

While you don’t necessarily need a lawyer unless you’re in extreme circumstances, an immigration attorney can help you navigate the complicated and drawn-out application process. This includes reviewing and explaining the various documents you and your significant other will have to fill out. Fortunately, most immigration lawyers charge by service, not hourly, so you don’t have to worry about accumulating a ridiculously high bill.

Finding your future spouse outside the U.S. can make your future a little complicated, but settling down in your home country is possible. Once you’re both on American soil and married, your spouse can apply for a green card. Patience is key, as it can take years before he or she becomes a citizen. However, it’s certainly worth the effort to share your lives together.