Bringing Your Foreign Fiancée to the U S

Navigating the Immigration Bureaucracy

So, in your travels abroad, or your recent foreign posting in the military, or while surfing the Internet, you have found the love of your life in a foreign country and are now ready to get married.

Having married a woman from abroad and having completed most of the requirements for obtaining permanent U.S. resident status and eventually U.S. citizenship for her and her two children, here are some of my experiences in dealing with the bureaucracy. I present this not as legal advice (when in doubt get a lawyer) but rather in hopes of helping others wade their way through this bureaucratic maze.

That being said, let me add that the best thing that ever happened to me was meeting my Russian wife on the Internet and marrying her.

Fountains in the Peterhof outside of St. Petersburg (- or Sankt-Peterburg) Russia.
Fountains in the Peterhof outside of St. Petersburg (- or Sankt-Peterburg) Russia. | Source

What I want to convey here are some of the obstacles that you will have to navigate in bringing your intended fiancée to the U.S.

If you think it is difficult introducing your fiancée to the family just wait until you introduce her to your Uncle Sam (the old guy with the beard in the red, white and blue suit that hasn't been changed since at least the first edition of World War II recruiting posters).

The first thing to remember is that she must be your fiancée and not your wife when she first sets foot in this country. If you marry abroad, your spouse has to apply for admission to the U.S. under an entirely different set of rules which are more restrictive for her, in that these are rarely issued, and definitely more restrictive for her children than if she comes here under a K-1 Fiancée visa.

Current rules provide for your fiancée to be given a 45 day K-1 visa and her unmarried children under age 21, a 45 day K-2 visa. The two of you must then marry in the U.S. within the 45 days or she and her children will be deported. If you marry her abroad there is a chance that she and/or her children will never be allowed into the U.S. except on temporary tourist visas.

The First Step

The first step in the process is finding someone with whom you fall in love and want to marry. If this is done via the Internet, which is how I met my wife, you first have to make contact and start a relationship. Unless you live near our northern or southern border and find someone a short distance away on the other side of the border, the relationship is going to be by Internet, telephone and snail mail. However, the rules say that, before you can bring a woman into the U.S. on a K-1 visa, you must provide documentation that you have visited her in person outside the U.S. Photos, airline receipts, hotel receipts, etc. can serve as proof - the more the better. Unless you can afford to be flying off to visit foreign women every few weeks, it is best to develop the relationship as far as you can before going for the visit. In addition to email (and Internet access may be expensive for your fiancée depending upon where she lives), overseas telephone rates for calls from the U.S. to most of the world are very reasonable (a one hour call to Russia cost me less than dinner for two at McDonald's) making this a great way to build the relationship. However, the reverse is not true and calls from abroad to the U.S. are not only absolutely more expensive but, compared to incomes in many countries, are prohibitive for the local population. Snail mail and packages are slow but also a good way to build the relationship.

At this point it is a good idea to go to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service website and begin familiarizing yourself with it. The first thing you will see are numerous public relations pieces touting the work of the USCIS - just ignore these and navigate to the pages with information that you need. Work through the site to find and begin bookmarking the the pages pertaining to K-1 and K-2 visas, as well as rules and regulations, down loadable forms etc. On the one hand the amount of useful information on the site has increased considerably since I had to use it, but the amount of useless PR pieces have also increased and the navigation and indexing have not improved. You might find the social bookmarking site to be very helpful here as you can bookmark as well as write descriptive notes and apply multiple tags to the various pages for later use. Your fiancée can also join the site and you can share the links and tags with her on this site. Even if you plan to use a lawyer, I suggest that you study this site very carefully as well as search and bookmark other sites on the Internet - don't necessarily believe what these these other sites say, but they can be a good sources for questions to ask your lawyer or immigration officer. If you have a lawyer be sure to constantly ask "Why?" "Why?" "Why?" until you understand exactly what is going on. The same is true when dealing with immigration personnel, keep asking "Why?" until you understand the process. You will also find that employees at the USCIS are not only frequently ignorant of the laws they are supposed to enforce but, when you complain to your Congressman, as I did, you will be told that the law is too complicated to expect them to give accurate information. However, if you do follow advice from an immigration employee or lawyer and it is wrong, that is your tough luck.

When you are ready, schedule a trip to meet your fiancée By this time, if you have had open and honest communication, you should know her fairly well and there should be no big surprises at the other end. Do take time to study up on her country and customs but be prepared to be flexible. Books and the Internet tell you the customs in general, but people are different. Also, thanks to modern communication, many cultural differences are disappearing. Finally, understand that she is probably studying up on the U.S. and our customs as she is not only preparing for your visit but is also planning on moving here to live with you. You may find that she is more Americanized than you expected. This is your chance, and may be your only chance, to interact in person with her and decide if the relationship is go or no go. Again, be sure to take pictures and save receipts to share with your Uncle Sam.

My fiancee, Bella, and I posing with Peter the Great and his Queen inside the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, Russia)
My fiancee, Bella, and I posing with Peter the Great and his Queen inside the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, Russia) | Source

Bringing Your Fiancee to the U.S.

When you return is when the paperwork starts in earnest. Go to the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Service) site, download the form to apply for the K-1 visa.

As I recall the form itself is fairly easy to complete although you will need information from your prospective spouse - maiden name if she had been married, date and place of birth, previous marriage, divorce, etc. names and ages of children, if any.

You will also have to provide similar information about yourself as well as copies of birth, marriage, divorce and other records including a photocopy of your passport and every page (including blank pages) in it.

A financial statement and copies of bank and investment records as well a letter verifying employment to support the statement will also be required.

Finally, you will have to sign an affidavit promising to support your wife and any children she brings and promise not to apply for any public aid for them for at least ten years.

Get used to this affidavit as the USCIS collects these affidavits the way some people collect stamps and you will end up submitting these affidavits many times. As to whether they ever bother to read or enforce the affidavit, I have no idea.

Depending upon the volume of applications, it can take up to a few months for your application to be approved (not really approved but, rather, having the USCIS tell you that they do not object to allowing you to proceed to the next step - bureaucrats hate to commit to anything).

At this point you have to shift over to the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in your finance's home country to begin the visa process.

This will require the presentation of copies of records and an application from you to be sent to the State Department as well as your fiancée completing an application and submission of copies of more records as well as obtaining a report from her local police department showing no criminal past.

A medical exam by a U.S. Embassy approved local doctor is also required. She and her children will have to visit the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Counselor Office for an interview.

Expect to spend a couple of hundred dollars on fees here in the U.S. as well be prepared to send money to your fiancée for fees she will incur at her end.

The easiest way to send money is via Western Union but the fees are high.

I was able to add my fiancée to my credit union account and obtain an ATM card for her (by that time we were going to be married and I trusted her) however, this is no longer an option as the U.S. Patriot Act, whose rules took effect a few weeks after i did this, requires people to come to the bank and sign in person before opening or being added to an account at a U.S. financial institution.

Obtaining an extra ATM card on your account and sending it to her is not recommended.

Before I visited my wife I checked the Internet and found two ATM machines in Ryazan, the city in which she lived, both of which claimed to accept both Visa and Master Card ATM/Debit cards.

I took ATM/Debitcards from my bank and credit union accounts (one was Visa and one Master Card) to Russia with me.

When I tried the Master Card, the ATM in Ryazan, the city where finance lived, it not only kept my card but shut the ATM itself down completely.

I was able to get it back but if I had sent it to my fiancée and she had used it alone she could have been charged with credit card theft (her finance in the U.S. sent her his card - likely story!).

Don't send cash as it will most likely end up in some postal worker's or customs officer's pocket.

Finally, be careful with checks - in Russia the bank takes the check, mails it back to the U.S. bank with a letter asking for proof that it is good (which the bank probably won't do unless the check is certified).

Even if the bank does send the check back with the proper assurances you are probably looking at months before your fiancée receives the cash from a Russian bank.

View of Ryazan, Russia taken from the window of my fiancee's tenth floor apartment
View of Ryazan, Russia taken from the window of my fiancee's tenth floor apartment | Source
A trolly in Ryazan, Russia
A trolly in Ryazan, Russia | Source
The Golden Arches of a McDonald's restaurant in St. Petersburg, Russia where I treated my fiance to her first taste of American fast food.
The Golden Arches of a McDonald's restaurant in St. Petersburg, Russia where I treated my fiance to her first taste of American fast food. | Source
My new wife brought the Russian custom of removing shoes when entering the house to our home in Tucson, Arizona.
My new wife brought the Russian custom of removing shoes when entering the house to our home in Tucson, Arizona. | Source

Preparing to Come to the United States

In our case there were no exit requirements imposed by her government.

She had full custody of her children and current Russian passports (in Russia, like many countries, everyone is required to have a passport that is used for both internal identification as well as foreign travel).

However, depending upon the country, there may be applications and fees to pay in before your fiancee is able to leave their country and immigrate to the United States.

After completing the filing of the application for a visa you wait until your fiancée gets a phone call or letter instructing her to come and pick up her visa.

Up to this point, except for your trip to visit your fiancée, your costs have been fairly low. As I pointed out before, phone calls and mail are relatively inexpensive and there is not a much you can do other than talk and write to each other.

Fees for the application process run $200 or less, so, unless you have an attorney doing the work, there are very few expenses. But now things change.

At this point you are in a period where you and your fiancée know she will be coming soon but don't know when.

She may have a lease to cancel and may have to quit her job.

My wife was a school teacher and received notice of her final processing just before school started - her employer gave her the choice of quiting before school started or teaching the full year.

She quit, but that meant that I now had to provide support as, without her teaching job she had no way to support her and her two children while they waited for the visa to come to the United States.

Once she is given the visa you have to purchase plane tickets for her and her children.

My wife and her two children get a taste of their new homeland by celebrating Tucson's Annual Fiesta de los Vaqueros Parade and Rodeo.
My wife and her two children get a taste of their new homeland by celebrating Tucson's Annual Fiesta de los Vaqueros Parade and Rodeo. | Source

Because airlines are required to take any passengers back to their country of origin if they are not accepted in the U.S., the airlines require that you purchase a round trip, rather than one way tickets.

There is also the cost of transportation to the airport as only a few cities in each country have airports that handle foreign flights.

My wife and her children were able to move with the three suitcases they checked on the plane. But, some women may have more and this will require shipping.

Finally, there is the financial impact of the increased family size.

The day my fiancée and her two children arrived I woke up in the morning responsible for a household of three - my two sons and myself

When I went to bed that night I had a family of six. That impacts your budget noticeably!

You will need to take a few days off from work to help your fiancée and her children settled in.

With both sets of children in their teens, I did not have any problems with them adjusting to the family.

Not that they bonded immediately with my children. They didn't. I did not force them and they did not clash. All four were mature and acted as such.

I also made no attempt to have my sons accept my wife as a stepmother and did not step into her children's lives as step-father as far as laying down rules, etc.

Of course, I loved my two new children and provided for the emotional and material needs of all four children equally - I just gave her children space while they got to know me and adjusted to the family.

The situation probably would have been different if our children were younger. However, with two still at home twenty year olds and two teenagers between us,,I basically supervised my children and my wife hers.

While there were no big differences, the rules were not always the same at first.

For instance, in Russia it is customary to remove ones shoes upon entering a home, including your own. My wife laid out slippers for herself and her two children by the door and I placed mine there as well.

The four of us wear slippers in the house while my two sons don't.

In Russia the custom is for the wife to manage inside the home and, as soon as she was settled, I began stepping back and letting her take control inside the house.

In addition to adjusting within the house, there is also the outside world to introduce them to and deal with during the first few days after arrival.

One of the first things we did was spend a day traveling around town taking care of more paperwork.

We went to the local high school and enrolled her son after producing the necessary proof that I lived and paid taxes in the district.

There was also the matter of immunizations, which he had had in Russia but the Russian immunization record (written in Russian) was not accepted by the school. The shots were obtained and he was enrolled.

I also took them to get Social Security cards. My fiancée was given one because she had the K-1 visa, but the children had to wait. As a result, when I went to file my income taxes a few months later, I had to get Tax ID numbers for them before I could claim them on my taxes.

The next year my step-children had Social Security numbers and, when I filed with these, I promptly received a letter from the IRS questioning the change. It took a trip to the local IRS office and the filing of more paperwork to clear that up.

I also had to go and file affidavits with the bank to change the number on their accounts from Tax ID to Social Security (and my daughter had to accompany me because, being over 18, she was an adult and I was not allowed to invade her privacy - the bank's rule, not hers).

Even though she was issued a Social Security card immediately, my wife could not work and on her Social Security card the office had clearly typed Not allowed to work without USCIS permission.

My wife was also able to obtain a learner's permit for driving but that expired with her visa and, before getting a new learners permit, we had to wait for her work permit from the USCIS which did not come until six months later.


USCIS Homepage

Current (as of May 2007) USCIS Homepage - NOTE INFOPASS button in lower left for making appointments with an immigration officer
Current (as of May 2007) USCIS Homepage - NOTE INFOPASS button in lower left for making appointments with an immigration officer

Helpful Tools and Sources of Information

Phone Cards - email is great but, so long as you and your fiancée speak the same language, the telephone is useful second tool for communication. For Americans, overseas phone calls are inexpensive.

If your long distance carrier does not offer any deals for overseas calling, then I recomment that you go online and buy a phone card.

These can be as low as one cent per minute but read the terms carefully as some round up to the nearest minute or more, have a call charge plus the per minute charge, deduct a fee every week or so, etc. But there are some that are good for 6 months or so and only charge for minutes used. Just do a Google search for Phone Cards and you will find hundreds of services.

In most non-western countries wages are low and overseas phone calls very expensive (even by American standards and our incomes are much higher). Therefore, you should not expect your fiancée to call you. Instead you should always call her as calling you could place a real financial burden on her.

If you and your fiancée do not speak the same language there are services that provide translators when you call. These are obviously more expensive but you will have to find a way to communicate in person some time. Google foreign fiancée telephone translation to find such services.

Sending Money Abroad - It is generally not a good idea to send money to a person you have just met on a foreign dating site.

There are many scams where foreign women claim to be looking for a husband in the U.S. or other western countries but are really involved in scams to get money. If the woman asks for money for some emergency (such as a sick relative) shortly after you make contact, she is probably part of a scam.

However, at some point you will have to decide whether or not to trust her. I first sent money when I was preparing to visit my then fiancée. She emailed me and said that she had found a 3 day, 2 night package bus tour to St. Petersburg that included hotel, bus tickets, museum tickets and meals for the equivalent of U.S. $90 each.

It was a great deal from my perspective but was the equivalent of two months pay for her, so I sent her the $180 to buy the tickets. When it came time for her to get ready to come to the U.S. I sent her money for her and her children to travel to Moscow for the interview at the U.S. Embassy, for the required medical exam and some other expenses related to obtaining her visa.

For Russia, the only way I could send money was via Western Union - they are fast, efficient and have offices in practically every city. For other countries PayPal may be a cheaper alternative but check first as, in many counties (Russia being one of them), PayPal can be used to make payments but not to receive money.

Don't send cash as it will more than likely end up in the pocket of some postal worker or customs officer (it is also illegal in some countries to send cash in the mail).

Checks may not be a good option because of difficulty in cashing - one friend of my wife's received a check from her fiancé in Australia. The bank took the check, wrote a letter to the Australian bank asking if it was good and mailed it with the check.

When the Australian bank returned the check verifying that the funds were on deposit, the Russian bank processed it and, when the funds cleared called the women to come and get her money. Three months after first presenting the check, the woman got her money less a substantial service charge for the special handling.

Packages and Snail Mail Letters - during our courtship I used the U.S. Postal Service to send an occasional letter with photographs (I sent a lot of digital photographs as well but while she could view them she had no way to print them) as well as some small gifts.

In addition to the U.S. Postal Service, UPS, FedEx and other services will deliver packages quickly and for reasonable prices.

Many foreign dating sites also offer services that deliver things like flowers, candy, etc. to your fiancée. With the growth of eCommerce and the Internet more and more companies, like, are expanding operations abroad and can be used to purchase and deliver gifts.

Our wedding was a small affair at the Oro Valley courthouse with only our children present.
Our wedding was a small affair at the Oro Valley courthouse with only our children present. | Source

Getting Married

As to the wedding, it can be difficult to plan since the visa is not issued until the paper work is processed and that time can vary considerably. Once the paperwork is processed and approved, a visa is issued and is good for entry into the U.S. for a period of about 6 months. The 45 day rule for staying here starts as soon as an immigration officer at the U.S. port of entry stamps her visa and says "Welcome to the U.S."

Realistically, you have to plan on planning and having the wedding once the 45 day period starts. Also, I don't think she can leave and re-enter the U.S. on the K-1 visa.

If your fiancée is from a first world country (an economically developed nation like Canada, Western Europe, Australia, etc.) she can come here and visit you as a tourist prior to receiving the K-1 visa. Any family members who can afford the trip can also come for the wedding.

However, if your fiancée is not from a first world country but from a third world country (which includes most of the world) it will be nearly impossible for her to visit as a tourist legally and, if she comes here illegally and is caught, she will probably never be allowed to return under any circumstances.

If such a woman's family wishes to come to the U.S. for the wedding they will have to get tourist visas which can take a while and, in most cases, only male members, married couples and their children will be issued visas. Unmarried adult women will more than likely be denied a visa (Uncle Sam assumes that their real purpose in coming is to find a husband and stay so they are barred).

One possible way around this is to use the fact that marriage is both a civil and a religious affair. In most Western nations a couple has a civil ceremony before a magistrate and then a religious ceremony in a church.

The general exception is the tradition in Great Britain and her former colonies (including the U.S.) where clergymen are allowed to function as both an officer of the state (despite the First Amendment's separation of church and state) and as a representative of the church, thereby combining the civil and religious ceremonies into one.

I think this is still a loophole whereby you could have the civil ceremony in the U.S. followed by a religious ceremony in your wife's country once she obtains temporary residence status and is free to travel abroad. But check this out before attempting it.

A problem arose with our marriage. Not having any family here, we just took our children and went to the local justice of the peace and, again after filling out papers, were married within 5 minutes.

Posing by the Alexandra Nevssky Monument in St. Petersburg, Russia
Posing by the Alexandra Nevssky Monument in St. Petersburg, Russia | Source
Nevssky Prospect one of the main streets in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Nevssky Prospect one of the main streets in St. Petersburg, Russia. | Source
Poshupovo Monestery in countryside outside of Ryazan, Russia.
Poshupovo Monestery in countryside outside of Ryazan, Russia. | Source

But the question arose as to how I should tell the government about this. In one of my many trips to the local USCIS office before my fiancée came here I was told that she would receive a packet of instructions upon arrival at the airport.

However, all they did was stamp her passport and wave her in. We received nothing in the mail and, with the clock ticking, I became concerned. After a number of phone calls I was finally directed to a new area of the USCIS website where I found the necessary forms and instructions.

By now the 45 day deadline was about three weeks away and as I read through the instructions for completing the forms I discovered that I not only had to submit a separate packet (the completed government forms plus copies of all relevant documents) for my wife and each of her children (except for the name at the top of the application form, the packets were identical and consisted of about twenty pages of paper each - mostly copies of documents), but also had to include a $500 check with each packet.

After completing the forms, attaching all the required copies and making copies for my records, I took the packets to the USCIS office on the south side of town during my lunch hour and they promptly rejected the packets for the two children pointing out that I needed a separate, notarized affidavit promising to support all three of them and keep them off welfare for ten years.

That was three identical original affidavits each applying to all three of them. This required a trip to my credit union on the north side of town. I returned and all three packets were accepted.

As of this writing, and we still haven't completed the full permanent residence process, let alone the citizenship process. However, the USCIS now has a total of ten original affidavits from me promising/swearing not to let my wife and her two children go on welfare.

At this point I was able to start tracking the progress of the application on the Internet although most of the time all I learned was that the applications were pending.

Finally, in late March (my wife had arrived in mid-September and the application for residency had been filed 45 days later) I finally got through on the telephone to the USCIS (there are no published numbers for the local office and all calls are by 800 number to Missouri for this step of the process and different 800 numbers for other parts of the process) to see what was holding things up.

The answer was that they were backlogged. However, upon further questioning I learned that if the processing took more than 90 days, you could file a separate application, and pay an additional $170 fee, for a work permit.

I submitted this and my wife received a work authorization card on a Tuesday in mid-May. We checked the help wanted ads and I took her around placing job applications when I got home from work. She was hired immediately and started work the following Monday.

My stepdaughter and stepson received their green cards shortly after my wife. Both can now work and drive a car and my daughter is close to graduating from college.

We are currently enjoying the two year lull between their receiving their temporary residence and waiting to start the process for permanent residence. Come spring we will have to plunge back into the bureaucratic swamp and begin working our way through the last two stages of the process.

My Wife's Long Trip to Her New Home With Me

show route and directions
A markerRyazan, Russia -
Ryazan, Ryazanskaya oblast, Russia
[get directions]

Ryazan, Russia where my wife lived before coming to the U.S. to marry me.

B markerSt. Petersburg, Russia -
St Petersburg, Russia
[get directions]

St. Petersburg, the city in northern Russia which my wife first visited during my first meeting with her before she came to the U.S. to marry me.

C markerMoscow, Russia -
Moscow, город Москва, Russia
[get directions]

Moscow, the capital of Russia and the city in which she and her children boarded the plane which brought her to the United States.

D markerTucson, Arizona -
Tucson, AZ, USA
[get directions]

Tucson, Arizona - 10,000 miles from my wife's former home in Ryazan and where my wife and her children settled when she married me.

© 2006 Chuck Nugent


Chuck profile image

Chuck 2 months ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Etete - From your comment I assume that your fiance is an American citizen/legal resident and that you are in the process of applying for a K-2 visa. I am also assuming that the 90 days is either the period in which you have to use the visa to come to the U.S. or the period after arrival in which you have to get married and submit a request for a change of status. When my then fiancee received her K-2 visa we had a time period of about 90 days or so to arrange her travel and move to the U.S. before the Visa expired. Once she arrived we had 45 days in which to get married and then file a change of status request (with the evidence of marriage) to change her status from K-2 visa status to temporary residence status.

Since these rules frequently change, I suggest that you contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where you are residing or the nearest U.S Immigration center if you are in the U.S. to get specific answers to your questions.

Etete 2 months ago

Good day, I have been to the united States twice in two years , I wish to get married soon, how true is it that I have to wait for 90 days before I can get married or submit my application for change of status ?

Thank you

Chuck profile image

Chuck 12 months ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

I suggest that you first check to see if the third world nation where you have your money has any restrictions (currency controls) on transferring money out of the country. You might also want to check with an accountant and/or lawyer in he U.S. regarding how U.S. tax law will affect your tax status when you bring your money to this country,

Tse ring 16 months ago

I want to ask if there is a way to bring all my earning to us from third world country . since now I'm planning to live with my wife in us after I receive my immigrant visa. And whom to consult is the best.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 19 months ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

John Cline - I'm glad you enjoyed this Hub.

I don't know what your financial situation is and, since I completed the process over a decade ago (I published the Hub in 2006) I am not sure what the current financial requirements are. When I applied I had a regular full time job and decent income however, I did have a lot of bills due to having spent a number of years previously working part time and free lance jobs while raising my two young sons and changing careers following the collapse of the Savings & Loan industry where I had previously been employed. I submitted an honest financial statement with the affidavits of financial support for my wife and 2 step children to be. These were accepted (and probably not read, at least to closely, by the bureaucrats who received them). If I hadn't felt that I could support all six of us I wouldn't have gone looking for a foreign bride. However, we both knew from the start that we would have to tighten our belts and work hard which is what we did and none of us, including our 4 children, ever expressed regret over my wife's and my decision to marry.

If you can't afford to go ahead with bringing your fiancée here and marrying her then you should not go ahead with your plans. However, if both of you feel you can afford the marriage and are willing to make necessary sacrifices I say go ahead and submit the affidavits and supporting financial documents and don't worry about what some bureaucrat might think. If you want some ideas for frugal living, many Hubbers have published lots of great advice on how to make financial ends meet and enjoy life on a tight budget.

Good luck and I hope things work out well for you and your fiancée.

John Cline profile image

John Cline 20 months ago from Loudon, Tennessee

If I don't make enough money to be a sponsor because I have 3 dependents and she has two small children is their any way around it that would be seven. And can I just sign something saying we won't get government assistance? She's in South Africa, I'm in the us. Enjoyed your article so much. Thanks John

Chuck profile image

Chuck 24 months ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Michal Kolman - is your partner coming to the U.S. on a K-1 Fiancée Visa or some other type of Visa? You say that you are not planning to get married for another year, so how do you know that your partner will be working in another city (or, if your partner will not be working why would you be living apart from your partner?)

If you are going to be bringing your partner to the U.S. on a K-1 visa the assumption is that you are going to marry right away as the visa is only good for a limited time (when my wife came over her visa was only good for 45 days and we had to marry within that time or she and her children would have been sent back to Russia).

If your partner is coming over on a K-1 Visa I suggest that you consult with a good immigration attorney to make sure that the address and working situation your are describing is legal.

Michal Kolman profile image

Michal Kolman 2 years ago

Thanks for a great article. I plan on doing the marriage thing next year. But I was wondering - although having one official address in San Francisco, is it legally possible that practically, both me and my partner work in different cities (e.g. Seattle and Los Angeles)?

Chuck profile image

Chuck 2 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Elma – It sounds like you really like this fellow and that you are approaching the relationship realistically and with a degree of caution. This could be a great thing for both of you but my advice is to continue with caution.

Since he is still on parole there may be some restrictions on his ability to obtain a fiancée visa for you. Also, does he have a steady job and able to support you? Again before getting the visa he will have to provide evidence that he has a job and can support you. Understand that it may take a few weeks or more before you can get a green card and, even then, the California economy is not that good and suffering from high unemployment so finding a job yourself may take a while.

Also, is your chatting via the Internet or have you spoken with each other on the telephone? Phone cards are very inexpensive now days making international calling very affordable. Has he told you about his friends and family and what life would be like with him in California? Do you know what is crime was and if he has had other trouble with the law?

Before my wife came to the U.S. and we married, we had communicated daily via email, had long telephone conversations practically every Saturday evening and had exchanged a few letters via regular mail. I had also, as was required in those days, traveled to Russia and had spent two weeks visiting her there so we knew each other quite well before she came to the U.S. and married me. We were, and still are, very much in love, but each of us still proceeded with a degree of caution as moved ahead with our relationship and plans.

Meeting and marrying my wife was the best thing that ever happened to me and I hope things work out as well for you and you man in California.

Rahman linkon 2 years ago

It was kinis that you did replay and thank you for taking time.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 2 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Rahman Linkon - Sorry for the delay but pressures from my regular jo have kept me from checking HubPages the past few days.

My wife and I never considered the marrying abroad route but I do recall in my research running across a couple of articles about problems some non U.S. citizens encountered when they married an American abroad and then tried to move to the U.S. with their American spouse. Again, I did not research this angle and there have been changes to the process in the years since I brought my fiancée to the U.S. and married her.

For starters I suggest you go to the page and type "bringing foreign spouse to U.S." - this will give you some information and links to the forms needed. Since you have to file the paperwork with a local U.S. Consulate or Embassy, it might be worth a trip to the nearest consulate or embassy where you might be able to meet with some one and get information on your specific situation.

As to substituting your income for your finance's lack of sufficient income that would be a question to ask one of the employee's in the visa section of the consulate.

Good luck and I hope things work out for you.

Rahman linkon 2 years ago

Thanks chuck!

That was really quick response.

We would talk to the solicitor but we are just fingering out in asvance.

Would it help if we get married in Italy and can I show my income instead?

Chuck profile image

Chuck 2 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Rahman Linkon - When your girlfriend applies for a fiancée visa to bring you to the United States she is agreeing to sponsor and support you. If she doesn't have an income sufficient to support herself and you I doubt that a visa will be issued.

When I brought my fiancée and her two children over I not only had to provide financial statements but also had to sign separate affidavits for each of them. In the affidavit I not only swore,. under oath, that my financial statement was true and accurate but also agreed to support them and not apply for any public assistance for them for at least 10 years.

As far as alternatives to your girlfriend having a job and sufficient income (and it doesn't have to be a "huge" income) I don't know of any. My suggestion is that you consult an immigration lawyer for information and advice regarding possible alternative options.

Rahman linkon 2 years ago

Hello there

I'm a Bangladeshi citizen living in Italy .My girlfriend is an American student and we decided to live together over there.Now she's unable to sponsor a fiancé visa Because she's a student and doesn't earn enough.We don't want to apply in quota system as well.

Is there any other way to avoid showing that huge income?

Thank you

Elma Cabreros 2 years ago

Hi there, I don't know if you're still active till now, but i'm Elma from Philippines, i am in a relationship with a parolee man from California for 6 months now. I know it's too early for us to come up to any decision or plans for our relationship. But to tell you honestly, we're really open to each other, and since the day we started chatting we are really talking about our future. He's not totally free yet, since he still needs to spend like 3 years doing some things that he needs to do while he's still on parole. He really wants me to be there with him, the soonest and not just wait for that 3 more years till he'll be completely free. Just want to ask or seek any advice. Your immediate response will be highly appreciated. Thanks!

Wi// 2 years ago

im talking with a wonderful girl from thailand...i have met her brother thinking of doing this,nervous but figured its worth a shot!...I appreciate your words of wisdom on the situation at hand!!!!but the quick and easy way does not seem to exist on relationship status ...the U.S. just makes it to hard for great people to get together!

Chuck profile image

Chuck 2 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

mclarenfam316 - When I brought my fiancée over ten years ago, marrying abroad and filing for an immigrant visa was very complex and time consuming. I assume there have been changes since then but, based upon what you wrote, it appears that the marrying abroad and getting an immigrant visa is still slower and more complex than applying for the K-1.

As to marrying abroad unofficially and then filing for a K-1 visa, I would consult with an immigration attorney before doing this. Again, when I was preparing to bring my fiancée to the U.S. K-1 visas were for fiancees only, not spouses.

Depending upon your fiancee's country and religion you might be able to have a church wedding in her country and then bring her over on a K-1 visa and have a civil marriage in the U.S. PROVIDED her country requires that couples go before a civil magistrate or other public official in order to be legally married and then have a second ceremony by a clergyman in a church. In the U.S. clergy are licensed by their respective state of residence which allows them to legally perform marriages in that state. In this way, getting married by a clergyman in a church satisfies both the legal and religious requirements with a single marriage ceremony. Again, I would consult with a good immigration attorney before dong this.

My best to you and your fiancée.

libbey61283 2 years ago

Thank you Chuck for the very detailed explanation about the whole process. Congrats on you Love Life.

mclarenfan316 2 years ago

Hi Chuck,

Thanks a lot. This is very detailed and really helps

I have been doing a lot of research and I am debating between marrying my fiancée in her country and filing for an immigrant visa vs filing a K1 visa. It looks like the K1 visa is the fastest option? do you suggest I go with a K1 option? also I plan to marry her there( unofficially) and then file for K1 visa. So we will officially not be married. Is this the right way to go about it?

Chuck profile image

Chuck 2 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Anthony - try having your fiancée check with the local authorities in Russia to see if there is some way around this such as using the phone number of a friend or neighbor.

Also, on my first trip (where I did stay with my then fiancée but she had a telephone in her apartment) and our recent trip to visit her parents (we stayed in a hotel on that trip) she had to send me a letter of invitation the first time and on our recent trip her parents had to send us a letter of invitation which, in each case, was submitted with the visa application (the U.S. is apparently requiring the same thing for visits by family/friends and we have to provide such a letter for my brother-in-law when he comes to the U.S. to visit us).

Finally, when I first visited my then fiancée a decade ago I was able to apply for the visa by mail (the nearest consulate is in another state) but for our trip a couple of years ago I was required to apply in person so I used the services of a passport/visa company and they took care of the paperwork and the fee was reasonable. There are a number of companies that provide this type of service. I used a national outfit called Travel Visa Pro because they had an office in San Francisco where the Russian Consulate closest to where I live is located.

I hope this is of help and have a good trip.

Anthony 2 years ago

I am going to Russia and trying to get my visa. The visa requires a phone number for my fiancé because I will be staying with her. She does not have a phone so what do I do?



Chuck profile image

Chuck 2 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

ruth - It doesn't seem to me that it would be a problem but I suggest that you check with the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service or an immigration lawyer as the rules change frequently. Also, while marrying a U.S. citizen may not affect your current visa status it might affect your immigration status if you are planning to become a U.S. citizen. If you are planning to apply for U.S. citizenship it would be a good idea to check to see if changing you visa status from your current visa to a fiancée visa would be a better tactic than your current visa status. I don't know the answer to this so I suggest that you check with the authorities or an attorney before you marry.

Anthony 2 years ago

Thank you very much for the information about Western Union.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 2 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Deny - My wife and I use the Western Union money service to send her parents in Russia some money at Christmas and on their birthdays. There is a fee which, compared to other alternatives, is somewhat expensive but it is legal, safe and convenient as I am able to use my computer to make the transfer from our bank account to my account with the Western Union service.

When my wife and I visit Russia I use my bank ATM card for cash needs and one of my credit cards, which doesn't have additional charges for foreign transactions, for the rest of my spending. I have considered sending my in-laws a prepaid debit/ATM card which we could reload from where we live. This would be less expensive but I couldn't get them to believe such transactions were possible let alone teach them how to perform such a transaction using a machine.

Anthony 2 years ago

Do you know of a safe way of sending money to Russia?

ruth 2 years ago

good day! i just wanna ask you something, i been to the US many times like almost every month because of worki have 10 yrs visa, i live in Canada as permanent residence, and enganged almost a year with my US citizen fiancé, and planning to get married this april in the US is there any problem getting married in the US with my status?

Chuck profile image

Chuck 2 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Neil - When I first went to visit my then fiancée in Russia I was able to contact a Russian Consulate (which was in another state) for the visa application papers which then filled out and submitted with my passport and the fee which I think was about $50.

However, when my wife and I decided to visit her parents a couple of years ago the rules had changed and visa applicants were no longer allowed to mail the application but had to submit them in person. The fee had also increased to around $100.

However, there are passport and visa services that will do the legwork for you for a fee. I did a couple of Google searches and ended up using an outfit called Travel Visa Pro which was headquartered in the same city as the Russian Consulate closest to me. They, like similar companies, handle visa and passport applications for travelers. Before using them I did a little research to verify that they were legitimate as well as checked customer comments about them - except for a couple of complaints (things like people discovering they needed a visa a day or two before their flight complaining about the company not being able to get a visa for them in time).

They do charge a fee for the service but, as I recall, I paid somewhere around $150 which included the fee or the service, the charge for the visa (which had increased) and the delivery cost to send my passport and the visa back to me (it was either registered mail or FedEx, I forget which but it was more secure than simple first class mail).

Of course, if you live in a city where a Russian Consulate located, you can do this yourself and save the visa company's fee but you will probably have to make at least a couple of trips delivering the application and picking up the visa and expect to spend a while each time waiting in line.

Finally, if things work out and you end up marrying this woman, she will have to retain and keep her Russian passport current as Russia does not recognize the renunciation of Russian citizenship when a person does this abroad during the naturalization process for citizenship in their new country (Russian citizenship can be renounced but it must be done in Russia and it takes a few weeks or more visiting various offices and completing paperwork).. As a result, when we visit Russia my wife, is now an American citizen, cannot obtain a visa but must carry and show her Russian passport to get into Russia. So, when we travel there I have my American passport and Russian visa which she carries both her Russian and American passports and has to show her Russian passport when we enter and leave Russia.

Neil 2 years ago

Hi chuck,

First I would like to thank you for the article, it was very helpful. This is the first time going through this process. I'm US citizen and I have been talking to someone from Asino, Russia and we have discuss our first meeting this summer. That said, I have never been to Russia and need to apply for visa. Can you give me some advice and pointers on getting a visa to enter Russia? I would appreciate it and thank you in advance.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 2 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Mehdi - I suggest that you have your boyfriend contact U.S. Customs and Immigration Service office to inquire about starting the application process. He might also want to seek and retain the services of a lawyer who specializes in immigration law. I am not a lawyer and cannot comment on individual situations but a lawyer who is knowledgeable about you and your boyfriend's specific situation should be able to answer the questions you are asking as well as facilitating the process of obtaining a visa and emigrating to the U.S.

Mehdi 2 years ago

Hi, I am from Morocco, and i wanna get married to my boyfriend, he is from USA, and i wanna know if i can get a visa and went there where he lives and get married with him, within the period i can stay legally in USA, then do i have to come back to Morocco or i can stay there in USA and live with him for the rest of our life. hope to hear from u, and thank u

matt 2 years ago

Thank you very helpful ans hives me a place ro start.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 2 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Rohi - Thank you for your comments. I am glad to hear that this Hub was of help to you in your situation. My wife and I have been married for ten years now and are very happy. Bringing her over here and marrying her was worth every bit of the effort that went into the immigration and naturalization process.

Rohi 2 years ago


Your story and information is really helpful for me because I am in love with a guy from another country through the internet and we have been together since 2007. Due to certain complications,I wasn't sure if things would even work out with the visa. But thanks to you, I now have insight to how the future situation might be and how to approach it. I appreciate your post and how you wanted to help others with similar situations. Thank you Chuck! :) God bless you and your family. Hope all is well!

Chuck profile image

Chuck 2 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Jill - I am not a lawyer and am not in a position to answer questions regarding individual situations. This Hub was intended to be a general guide for those seeking to bring a foreign fiancee to the U.S. to marry and was based om my personal experience and rules as they existed at the time I published the Hub in 2006. I included links to U.S. Customs and Immigration website for those seeking further information on the rules and processes

I suggest that you either check with the U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. Consulate in Australia regarding your question or have your boyfriend check with a case officer at the nearest U.S. Customs and Immigration office in the U.S. or with an immigration lawyer. The rules in this area frequently change and I am not sure as to what they are now. At the time I wrote this Hub different visas were required depending upon whether a person was bringing a foreign fiancée to the U.S. to marry or bringing a foreign spouse to the U.S. to live. The process and rules were also different and I think were more stringent in the case of couples who married abroad.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 3 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

cherry - Based upon my experience, your finance will have to apply for a K-2 visa for your child. There also may be some approvals that you will need to get from the boy's father and the Philippine authorities before the visa would be approved and issued.

You probably consult with a lawyer in the Philippines as to the legal process for moving the child abroad and your finance should consult with an immigration lawyer in the U.S. about the K-2 visa requirements. While your U.S. finance will not be required to formally adopt your child, he will be financially responsible for the child if your son accompanies you to the U.S.

cherry 3 years ago

My fiancée visa is in the processing now. I am a Filipino. My concern is about my child going with me. She is 7 years old now. I am not married but my child bringing the family name of his father. Is there any papers or documents that I need to prepare to make it legal of bringing my kid with me?

hongyan 3 years ago

It's a great job you are doing.

francis5k 4 years ago

very nice article it's helpful! good job!

Chuck profile image

Chuck 4 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

caseythomsen - check with your local USCIS office as the laws and regulations in this area are constantly changing. Eight years ago when I brought my fiancée over and married her in the U.S. the K-1 visa seemed to be easier and the preferred way. But I think things have changed and I don't think the K-3 Visa route is as rare and difficult now as it was then.

caseythomsen 4 years ago

Hi Is it better to marry your fiancé in her country and then bring her back to the states using the K-3 visa or do the K-1 visa? casey

Jessicapotter24 profile image

Jessicapotter24 4 years ago from Los Angeles, California

It was like watching a full- length movie! This narration would be definitely helpful to all those who are trying to get into the US through the fiancé visa. Very thoughtful of you to share this across!

Chuck profile image

Chuck 4 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Katehtt - In the Hub above I explained that the fiancée visa is only good for a short period after arrival in the U.S. (as I recall, once issued the fiancée visa had to be used withing 6 months and upon arrival in the U.S. I think we had 45 days to marry and file the application for a change of status to allow her and her children to stay beyond the 45 day limit on the visa).

I found the necessary forms on the USCIS website (here is the link for the USCIS homepage - I don't recall the name of the form or where it was on the USCIS site. The fee at the time I filed this form was $500 for my fiancée and $500 each for her children. I believe that this fee has increased since then.

If you can't find the form on the USCIS web page, visit the local office of the USCIS and they should be able to either give you the form or tell you where to find it. You can also hire an immigration attorney to steer you through the paperwork and the process.

As to working you have to wait until after the change of status is approved and a green card issued.

onlooker 4 years ago

Wow, what a story, useful and informative. Surely you must have so much courage and determination. Reading this hub reminds me of those novels where you fall in love with a foreigner and go through all the trials and tribulations. I am so glad you guys made it. Cheers!!

katektt 4 years ago

I am applying for my Fiancé visa in the next few weeks , I need to be in colorado by august for my son to start work .

I have seen my fiancé in the past few weeks and have my tickets and boarding passes etc . once in the USA what do we ghave to do next and what forms do i file when married and when can i work , i am at my whitts end with this 6 weeks of research and still no further forward .

when called the embassey ans usic my phone bill was $23 and no help .

i just want a step by step idiots guide for what forms i need to file and how much my medical and interview will cost .

lyn 4 years ago

hi everyone, My fiancée and i have been together for awhile now and he lives in the US. I would want to ask if getting a fiancé visa requires that the US CITIZEN must be financially stable before he can bring his fiancé over to the US? Your answers will greatly help me. Thank you in advance..

Chuck profile image

Chuck 4 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Thank you for the update. While I have made some minor updates to this Hub in the past few years, the Hub itself was written 5 years ago and things change regularly in the area of immigration rules.

Also, my focus in the Hub which was my experience with the K-1 visa for my then fiancée and the K-2 Visa for her two wonderful children who are also near and dear to me. I did not pay too close attention to the K-3 Visa requirements.

Also, because of America's past special relationship with the Philippine Islands which are a former American territory, there may be some different rules regarding the immigration of spouses from there.

Thanks again for visiting and for sharing your information.

Daniel 4 years ago

You had a lot of good information in your article, but I fear that much of it is now outdated. I recently married a filipina and am in the process of her K3 Visa. I went over there and married her in the Phiippines and under new streamlined processes, to get married over there and then apply for her spousal visa is no different than applying for a fiancé visa. In fact our visa application only cost $420.00 and all of those forms and affidavits that you spoke of, were filed along with our first application. I will have to pay for her medical exam, but the process has been cut down to about 5-7 months total., and although I don't know if you could, now we can go online daily if we desire and see just where our application is in the process. Plus with the new K3, or CR2 spousal visas, they receive their work permit the minute they arrive in the country. Hope this helps any others that are starting the process. Foreign fiances and wives can also go onto facebook and find a group called Pretty Ladies, it is a closed group but they can get invited, and they are all women engaged to or married to foreigners, Mostly Americans. Have them check it out.

amethysmoore 4 years ago

the main requirement for fiancé(e) visa is u have to get married within the 90 days requirement..

Brian 4 years ago

Hey thanks for the info my friend. My girlfriend is Russian, I hold dual citizenship in both Sweden and USA... we are trying to decide where we belong, oh how I dread all the papers! It was heartwarming to hear your story go so smooth, I hope you all have a beautiful life!

rosebert 4 years ago

Hi, I am a us citizen and I want to bring my fiancée who's curently living in spain to the us. We have not met within the two years that is needed for the visa, but we grow up together in Africa. I was adopted and was brought to the us in the year 2000 and ever since I have not gone back to my country. I got married and have two children but now I am divorced. My fiancée has been my best friend since childhood, after my divorce in 2009, I really wanted to go and visit him but I was hate with economic hardship single mom with two young children to support alone without child support. Now I want him to join us here in the us and I am praying that the us will give him the visa. If anybody has a suggestion please help me.

Thank You to all of You.

Tom 4 years ago

I owe the government medical debt because I have no insurance when I was admitted to the hospital. Now I met someone in a foreigner country and would like to get marry. Will my medical debt to the government prevent me from bringing her to the united states?

andre 4 years ago

Dear just a question My girlfriend is american I am from Brasil what if we get married in Brasil? How long I need wating for go to usa ?

or if she live while in Brasil exemplo 1 year ? how is the procedure for go to us ?

My relatives live in Japan japanese/brasilian so what we can do ?

kitt 4 years ago

i really need to learn to proofread.. im sorry.. i guess im more upset than i thought.. and when that happends.. i seem to get some sort of computer dyslexia lol.. so please excuse all the spelling errors.. im really not as much of an idiot as it might seem lol thanks!

Kitt 4 years ago

wow interesting read for sure! thanks!

Im planning on marrying the man of my dr eams.. im in the USA and he's in Australia.. he makes good money there working in the oil refinery business.. the more we look into all this the more aggitated we get.. trying to do the RIGHT thing.. seems to be more of a headache than doing what everyone else seems to do here (people that come to this country illegally and mooch off the system, but live here for years and years with no intentions of leaving) I myself am not working.. i lost my job in the post office due to downsizing and have been milking my unemployment being as though i cant seem to find a job that pays me what im use to (i was a corrections officer before that which i loved but lost that job unjustly because once again i did the right thing.. others did NOT) so right now and for the past year.. i didn't mooch off any welfare.. i took my unemployment since ive earned it my whole life working as a single mom.. but because im not working i cant afford to sponsor my boyfriend/fiancé.. and its hard to find sponsors that arent relatives.. they want one hell of alot of personal info.. and alot of people right now arent meeting the requirements of the 125% over poverty level with the amount of people on unemployment.. so he's over there in australia saving and selling his stuff off and working as much overtime as possible... starting to stress on him.. because out wen the family we planned on having.. too much of an expense.. were older.. age 40 for both of us... i had thought about moving there.. but once i got there.. i realized they are so far behind the times than we are over here in the usa that i didn't realize how much i was giving up to go there.. none the less having my mother giving me guilt and daughter not wanting to come there EVER to visit.. soi said i wasn't moving there and he agreed to move to the USA.. hes originally from England, so he's done it beofre.. at the age of about 20 something.. got married had a child.. now divorced 18 years later..his child off to college and m ine in her last year of highschool.. It s ure is BEautiful out there in Australia land.. but not for me to live..visit yes.. live no.. were not sure how were gonna get through all this with the sponsorship, or if theres a way around that.. being as though he;'s planning on bringing enough money here to have a place to stay for about 3 months adn buy a car etc.. but 6 months??? uggg! a work visa taking THAT long? isn't there a way to speed that up?? hes basically My support right now.. he send me money and puts it in my account directly from his.. we use s kype to talk and email and snail mail.. he's come here for a week.. and ive been there for 7 weeks.. tons of pictures, people that seen us together as a couple.. but usually it's the man that lives in the USA trying to get a wife here.. what if it's the other way around and the support comes from the man??? is there any way to get around this? we thought about him coming on a tourist visa when he planned on coming to watch my daughters cheerleading competition and getting married then him going home and us filling out the paper work for a spouse visa.. but that seems too complicated and even more risky.. im tired of the dictation of when i have to get marreid and how long i gotta wait and waiting for things to happen.. ive never ben marreid.. i dont want this dictated to me.. i want to plan a weddking.. have friends and family there to see it.. i dont know.. im just really disgusted by it all.. any suggestions would be greatly appreciated at this point.. i love him so much and i just want to live the fairy tale of happily ever after! please help

adriana09 4 years ago

Dear Chuck..I have a very important 21 and 6 years ago i feel in love wid my fiancé from Honduras...He has been living in the United states illegaly for about 7 years and we now have a 2 year old son together...I really wish that he could get citizenship here wid me in the us...Im constanly am living in fear because i love him wid all my heart & he is a wonderful man and father to my son that we had together in just worried that one day he will get caught by the immigration & have to get deported back...And i wouldn't want my son to be wid out hes would brake my heart..So i really do need help and some advice...Im wanting to get married to him but do it in the right way..Should i go to hes country and get married up their first and then come back down here or can we just get married down here in the us since hes already here...without a visa??? please help...than u..Adriana..

Lisa 4 years ago

Chuck, your article was very informative. I had a question. I met my fiance while studying for medicine in India. I am a US citizen and he is from India. I am 25 years old and we have been with each other for about 3 years. Currently I am not employed and preparing for my boards, thus being supported by my parents. We are planning to apply for the fiancé visa. Everything seems fine until we need to show evidence of financial support. Since I am being supported by my parents, would we be able to get the visa with financial support for him being from my parents? Or will that be a problem? Please help!!

Crazy in love 4 years ago

If an American girl moved in with a Thai boy back in 1974 and lived as man and wife in Thailand for that whole year and part of 1975, then the American had to go back to the US and they could not find each other for almost THIRTY SEVEN YEARS ...but now have found each other again thanks to the internet, and the Thai man wants to come to the US to marry his lost love, and she wants it too more than anything....must they spend the money for an air ticket to meet that "we have to had seen each other within the past 2 years" law? Because believe me, No 2 people have ever loved each other more deeply and have for all those 3 and a half decades. They never fell out of love.NEVER. Neither of them. They were 19 and 20 when first living as man and wife in Thailand. They are age 57 and 58 now. STILL as in love as before. Maybe even more now. But the added expense of having to fly one or the other to the other country just so a law saying the must have seen each other in the past 2 years...THAT would be a financial hardship on the Thai, and as for the American paying that ticket, it would just be taking money away from getting the marital home fixed and ready for his arrival.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 4 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

gabby - A fiancé visa is probably your best option. However,given your age (19) you may want to pause and consider the fact that this involves getting married which is intended as a lifelong commitment.

If you do decide to go ahead with this, I suggest you check out the links in the Hub for the U.S. Customs and Immigrations Service to view the paperwork involved with a fiancée visa. You should also visit the nearest USCIS office to review your case with an immigration officer to make sure that you have the necessary financial resources (job, savings, etc.)to undertake a commitment of this nature.

You should also make sure that your boyfriend is ready to undertake a commitment of this nature.

It would also help if he can speak English and has skills needed to get a job (remember we are in a recession and jobs are difficult to find for anyone and with teenage unemployment running close to 50% or more in many parts of the United States. One of the conditions of bringing a person to the United States on a fiancée visa is that you, the sponsor, both take responsibility for supporting that person and be able to show proof that you have the means to undertake that responsibility.

gabby 4 years ago

Hi Chuck..I have 19 years old..Im from Romania,My boyfriend is in Romania..WE are together for three years..I have Citizenship..I am In High School,And I wanna bring him here soon I can..What I need to do ? I`m so confused..I need Help

Bob 4 years ago

As for a fiancé visa, I should have gotten one of those for my wife. Instead, we got married first in China.

After we got married, I found out a fiancé visa takes less time than a wife's visa.

As for the Affidavit of Support, the way it was told to me, I was responsible for my wife for 5 years (now its 10 years) or until she became a US citizen. Even if we got divorced, she got drunk, had a car accident and hurt someone, I'd still be responsible.Or if we got divorced and she ended up on foodstamps and welfare, I'd still be responsible.

Jelena 4 years ago

Hey, does anyone here knows for how long u must be married to us citizen to gain citizenship and if u must live in the States all the time?

Rose 4 years ago

HI Steve, I just want to inform you that you must meet your fiancé within a 2 year period in order for your application be appoved.If you have never visited or met in person, you WILL NOT be approved. Me and my fiancé met within the 2 yr period and I am now currently in the US, waiting to marry. My suggestion to you is to contact the USCIS or go online, and they will inform you step by step. And please be aware of scammers, because she can not be approved without meeting or your filing a petition in the USA.

Osa´s 4 years ago

I read your post careful and i understand if one follow the good advice and get the right info. getting the fiancè visa is more easy.. And please i need your advice, my American Girlfriend will be coming to brasil in three weeks time for us to get married and she is currently unemployed, please i need your advice if it´s possible after the marriage in my country i will be able to use the K-1 fiancè visa?

this is my private E-mail:

i need your advice on it..



Steve 4 years ago

Hi Chuck. Very important. I met the woman I want to marry a few months ago. All we have done is correspond via email. She is 29, from Russia and her parents are helping her to get here. She has everything approved and will be here in 2 weeks. We wish to marry asap. Am I going to have problems since I have never visited her. I also need to ask what type of visa she got (i assume)

I wish I had read your posts much sooner. Any advice will be appreciated and I know you cant give legal advice. Thanks so much.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 4 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Ayoola Aderemi - I am not a lawyer and cannot provide advice on individual cases. I suggest that you have your fiancée in the U.S. contact an immigration lawyer for advice on this matter.

Ayoola Aderemi 4 years ago

my fiancée visa was approved and i went to the embassy in Nigeria for a visa interview, despite i went with everything i was needed to back my case up, mails, telephone bills, affidavit of support form my fiancée,medical results, police certificate,pictures, my fiancée boarding pass, photocopy of her American passport to support.

When the consular officer read in my mails that saw my cousin's name in the conversation with my fiancée, he asked who is Moyo and i told him my cousin who lives in Dallas, he helped us to get mails my fiancée used to send to me because in the previous times, she do post me mails but due to poor Nigeria postal services they missed in transit till now.

the consular now said he cant grant me the K1 visa as say the relationship is base on immigration purpose which is not.

My fiancée already called the uscis office but the told her, they have to get response from the embassy before they know what next.

Please i want you to advise me and my fiancée on what to do next before the approval will expires.

I will be glad to hear from you, my personal email is

Shawn 5 years ago

Extremely helpful, thanks!!!

marinell 5 years ago

i will entered in usa soon and then we have plan to married i thinkin is we have civil and the ceremony is on ohio mmmm u think our license is valid and im able to stay in usa for many years then confused thing is we have plan to marry here in phil like ceremony only w/o marriage license....... mmmmm i confused some things the reason we dont need to get marriage license is we have have already marriage license in usa coz we marry there so u think its good and reasonable this situation

myca 5 years ago

i've been reading articles and blogs about this topic but yours is the only one which did not make me fall i was typing this i am talking (ym) to my american fiancé as we always do for not less than 8hours a day almost a year now.chuck im really depressed we love each other so much and he should be here on december to get wed and to see me and my family personally for the first time but he really got sick and been living a now we're planning for me to be there instead through k1 visa.but when i knew that both of us must have met in person at least once within two years prior to filing the visa petition,im lost and i really dont know what to there a way that he could get me a k1 visa without us personally seeing each other and all we have are conversation and voice calls history in our ym accounts,,please do reply to this,i would greatly appreciate it..thank you so much

and oh chuck have you heard of a hardship waiver..i read from somewhere that my fiancé could get this one if the two of us haven't met personally but im not really sure what this waiver covers..please help..thank you again

Chuck profile image

Chuck 5 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

girlie - I suggest that your boyfriend check with an immigration attorney about this as this is a legal question and I am not a lawyer.

girlie 5 years ago

hello,.can i ask if im working as a prostitute and my boyfriend apply a fiancée visa for me,did you think i cant pass the visa because im working prostitute before?

thank you so much,i really need your advice.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 5 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

gorda1509 - as I have said before in responses such as this, I am not a lawyer and therefore cannot give advice on specific cases. My suggestion is that you contact the U.S. State Department in Washington about a visa or have your boyfriend contact the U.S. Embassy or a U.S. Consulate in Guatemala about obtaining a visa to visit the U.S.

gorda1509 5 years ago

hi. have a question. My boyfriend currently lives in guatemala. i would like to know if there is any way i can get him a visa to come visit me here. But my concern is that I am only an U.S resident. i have traveled to see him already. we been a couple for just about 13 months. can you please email me a response at

fred 5 years ago

I have met a girl in russia and I'd like to get married to her here and take her to the states. How is her legal process going to go? Will she be able to enter the states with a visa and then file for citizenship? Do i have to get married in the states? would it work out if i got married in russia?

Chuck profile image

Chuck 5 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Lian - in answer to your question, the process when my fiancée came over (and I believe it is still this way today but you should should check with USCIS to make sure) was that the K-1 visa was good for 45 days. Before the 45 days were up we had to get married, complete additional paperwork and submit it with the required fee (as I recall the fee I paid at that time was $500 for my wife and $500 each for her two children who had accompanied her on K-2 visas - I suspect these fees are higher today).

The paperwork you complete and file after marrying and within the 45 days of your fiancee's arrival is the application for temporary residence for your fiancée and any accompanying children.

If everything is in order temporary "Green Cards" will be issued and you will be able to remain and work in the United States for I believe two years. At the end of the two years you can file for permanent residence.

After a three year wait, a spouse can apply for citizenship, while children of the spouse have to wait for five years before applying for citizenship. In my case, my wife and both of the children have completed the entire process and all are now U.S. citizens.

Lian 5 years ago

Hi my guy is an american citiEn and were planning to apply for fiancé visa but when we get married and the fiancé visa expires does it mean i need to go back to paris while waiting for another visa once im married to

him? If yes - how many months do u think before i can finally be with him?? Thanksss a lot :)

Al 5 years ago

Thanks for posting, Chuck!

I am still reading posts, but I am wondering if my Filipina Girlfriend, who is working in Bharain, can visit the US with her Philippine passport? It wasn't that long ago the Philippines was a US protectorate!

SquirshCat 5 years ago

Thank you so much for this article. I'm currently engaged to a man who lives in the US (I live in England) and we've been looking for information on how he can help me move over. This is one of the clearest, most detailed articles I've seen so far in our research.

steve 5 years ago

thanx for the information... I will start the process soon...

Chuck profile image

Chuck 5 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Steve - When my wife came over she had full custody of the two children (one was 20 and the younger one 14) and she didn't have any problem bringing them with her.

The first thing to check would be to see whether or not the ex husband in Russia has any custody or visitation rights. Then check to see what the current rules are for custody and moving abroad with the child. Rules change over time and it would be Russian law and regulations that would apply to what you are asking.

Your best bet would be to have your friend contact a lawyer in Russia about this.

Also, as to applying for the fiancée visa, you have to do this. Since you are the person desiring to bring her and her daughter to the U.S. to marry her, you, not her, are required to apply for this visa in the United States. This is the fiancée visa application process that I described in the Hub above.

Congratulations on finding your true love and good luck with the process of bringing her and her daughter here.

Steve 5 years ago

Chuck your posts are very informative and helpful, thanx a bunch, I hope maybe you can offer me some direction from your experience, as I met my Russian friend on the internet 6 months ago and now we are looking into getting married and bringing her here to live with me, my only major problem that I am facing now is that she has a 4 year old daughter, she is recently divorsed, and she is worried that her exhusband will not give her permision to take his daughter out of the country to live, even though he does not see his daughter or support her at all. She recently has returned back to Russia from visiting here with me for 30 days, she had a tourist visa which is still good for ten more months, she is planning on trying to get a visa for her daughter to be able to go with her on the tourist visa and hopefully spend some more time here with me, should she go ahead and apply for the fiancée visa now, and still travel here on the tourist visa while she waits? and what about the daughter, can the exhusband stop her from bringing the daughter here, even if he does not see her or support her at all? Is it true that he will have to sign permission for her to be able to come here, whether to visit or to live? Please any advice is very much appreciated...

sophia 5 years ago

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DSEN 5 years ago

Wow thank you so much Chuck for your time, I will be checking back periodically to see what you and others learn! Thank you for all of the wonderful information, have a great day!

Chuck profile image

Chuck 5 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

DSEN - I am glad this Hub has been of help to you.

As I cautioned in the Hub, the information is general and based upon my experience. There have been changes in the laws and regulations in this area since I brought my wife over and since I wrote the Hub.

Unmarried women in Russia can now obtain a tourist visa and visit the United States while when I brought my then fiancée over about the only way unmarried Russian women could come to the U.S. was on a student or K-1 visa (there were some exceptions but these generally only applied to women who had major business interests or children back home in Russia making it certain they would return and not simply find a husband and stay here). So there shouldn't be any problem with her visiting you in the U.S. on a tourist visa and you may be able to apply for a K-1 visa for her while she is visiting but I suspect she will probably have to leave the U.S. and then return on the K-1 visa rather than simply changing her visa status.

I haven't followed the changes in the law closely since bringing my wife over and I believe that many of the rules and restrictions have been relaxed. HOWEVER, my advice is to check with a USCIS officer or immigration lawyer before marrying her or attempting to change her visa status as you may jeopardize your chances of getting the K-1 visa as well as obtaining legal permanent residence or U.S. citizenship.

As to the medical exam, when I went through the process that only applied to the person seeking to come to the U.S. I did not have to take any medical exam or provide any type of medical information about myself. I did have to provide proof of sufficient income and assets to support my wife and had to sign an affidavit promising to provide for her (and in my case, her children) for at least ten years before applying for any type of government welfare benefits.

One other thing, we just discovered when we revisited Russia (see Hub on that trip here for the first time since my wife came to the U.S. that while the U.S. requires new citizens to renounce their citizenship in their former nations, Russia is one of many nations that does not recognize the simple renunciation of Russian citizenship. While I will be writing a Hub soon on this topic about visa and passport requirements for visiting Russia, in a nutshell it is apparently a long (about a year) and complex process for a Russian to renounce their citizenship in the eyes of the Russian government. Therefore, for purposes of entering Russia my wife, even though she is a U.S. citizen with a U.S. passport, cannot obtain a Russian visa to visit that nation but must present her Russian passport (which has to be renewed every few years at a cost of about $600) when entering and exiting Russia. She then, of course, has to use her U.S. passport when entering and exiting the U.S. Not being Russian, I have to obtain a Russian visa (at a cost of about $200 per trip) to enter that country - we also have to go through separate immigration lines when entering Russia just as citizens and foreign visitors go through separate lines at custom checkpoints when entering the U.S. and other nations.

DSEN 5 years ago

Hello, I am a US citizen (male) and I have met a Russian woman while on vacation. We are looking into what it would take for us to get married and her move to the US with me. I want to say thanks to Chuck for taking the time to write his experiences out for us to learn! She has no kids and has never been married. She read something that said she can not come here on tourist visa and get married while here on that visit, but I read that you said she can apply for K-1 while here on tourist visa. Is that still the law, or do you know any different? Do I have to provide some kind of medical exam in my paperwork too? What kind of things are they doing in this medical exam? Thanks ahead of time for any help!

youngdubliner profile image

youngdubliner 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

nice story. will send this link to my friend who is in this situation. the only difference is she's the one who is a us citizen and her fiancée is not. thanks

Justsilvie 5 years ago

Well Done Hub!

Chuck profile image

Chuck 5 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

anderson - The rules seem to have been relaxed somewhat since I wrote this but I think the K-1 process is still the only way (or at least in your case, probably the best way) for you to come to the U.S. permanently.

As to getting married on a tourist visa, I would first check with a local USCIS office to make sure that that doesn't block you from obtaining a either permanent residence status or citizenship later. Also, regardless of its effect on your future chances of permanent residence or citizenship, even if you do get married while visiting the U.S. it is my understanding that you would still have to either leave when your visa expired or get an extension of the tourist visa. But, either way, you could not legally work in the U.S. on a tourist visa so all you would accomplish would be to be married while visiting.

Again, assuming you are seeking to marry your finance and live in the U.S. I don't think the process now days is that long for you to get a fiancée visa and then get a green card which will let you live an work here while you are awaiting either permanent residence status or citizenship.

Good luck and best wishes on your marriage.

anderson 5 years ago

hi chuck. your blog has been very informative and help to put the process in a more structured order.

i am a UK citizen and my finance is a us citizen.

we were unsure as to what would happen if we got married while im in the USA on a travel visa and then filled for residency.

We are both very much in love and i have travelled to the us to see on several occasions.

the k-1 process seems to be the way forward but it breaks both out hearts every time i leave.

i know the time apart hurts but if it means we are together in the end, it is obviously worth, on the other hand if there is another way, like i mentioned above and i don't have to leave that would be great,,, do you know anything about this.?

thanks for your time chuck.

yong 5 years ago

Very useful indeed. Thanks very much for sharing your marriage experience with us. You are a very nice couple. God bless.

Uka 5 years ago

Hello.I'm Mongolian and my boyfriend is American.we live in china have been together for 3 years.we planning to have a baby sometime in next year and we thought it would be better if we get married first.we will be living in china in next few years and no plan to living in American so far.I never been in USA.but I would like to go to there sometime.but not for living...where do you think we should get married? In my home country, china or USA?our plan is living in Asia in the future and travel to USA there any chance to do all the paperwork while we live in another country?

f_hruz profile image

f_hruz 6 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Dear Chuck,

you display some very interesting qualities in your writing. I am amazed by your patients, the detail in your answers and your desire to help. I enjoy the insight you provide into your perspective of how things are done in the US.

I grew up in Europe, live now in Canada and never immagined the US to have such a highly bureaucratic regime. It strikes me as most absurd that a nation would display this enormous paranoia about people requiering some sort of social assistance while spending enormous amounts of money they don't even have to try and fake a military power they can no longer pay for.

I like to congratulate you, Bela and all your kids, to having you as their head of a very unique family.

What would be your comments regarding the psychological aspects of integrating your kids with Bela's, their process of adapting to life in your neck of the woods, and also your position regarding life in another part of the world - 1st, 2nd or 3rd - take your choice.

Franto in Toronto

kenneth delancey 6 years ago

im an american citizen that got married to a filpina in the philippines.i never entended to bring her here to the u.s however due to my finances and recent career change,i find that i may have to bring her here afer i hear its motre diificult to bring them if you marry them in their country.cant say i like that.i didn't know that really would have brought her here to marry had i known that.i still think its a better idea to live in the philippines with her and i would much prefer to do that if possible.its not important to me to live in plush the philippines i can have some land and raise livestock.also coconut trees and beautiful women.america is only wonderful if you a ummmmm filipino

David 6 years ago

I'm sorry to say that I think there are more of the "I married you to get into the U.S." stories than people think.

Men really need to think with their brains rather than their penis.

Just my thoughts.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 6 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Luisa - I suggest that you consult a U.S. immigration lawyer as I am not a lawyer and the law in this area is complex. Getting advice on the best course to choose should not take that much time and should not cost too much. The cost will rise if you choose to retain a lawyer (and this might or might not be a good idea depending upon your circumstances) to handle the immigration process for you.

Good luck and I hope you can find a way for both of you to come here and marry.

Luisa 6 years ago

Hi Chuck, very informative post you've got there.

I'm not quite sure if you could enlighten me with this, but sure worth a shot seeing that you've become knowledgeable about this thru experience.

But the twist is we're both non-citizens, but one of his parents is: his mom is has a US citizen status and his dad has an immigrant status. They migrated to the US in the early 1990s. His dad petitioned him as a single son and we have already received his invitation to the US Embassy.

Although we love each other and at the point of ready to be married, I gave way for him to fulfill his family's american dream, since it took them years of waiting for their petition to be taken cared of. I somewhat frustrates me, but because I love him, I would assume that this would be good for him.

In our situation, what do you think would be the best route? We discussed these possibilities and researched about it on the net, yet never came across an answer fitting our situation:

1) he will complete his US stay requirement until he will be allowed to file a Fiancée visa for me and marry me in the US.

2) he will complete his US stay requirement, then fly back to our home country so we can marry, then petition me as his wife.

there are pros and cons in the two; but we were wondering which would be less tedious and less wait? or any thoughts you might want to share?

Chuck profile image

Chuck 6 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

sad husband - sorry to hear what happened to you.

I suggest you contact your USCIS office for advice. You might also want to seek advice from both an immigration lawyer and a divorce lawyer.

sad husband 6 years ago

I married a guy from Nigeria 2 years ago. I recently found out that he was cheating and he told me he only married to become a US citizen. How long must we be married before that happens.. seeking an answer

clueless 6 years ago

Hie I'm a canadian citizen n i have a daughter who's also a canadian but my boyfriend(fiancés father is a US permanent resident.i've visited new york several times but this time i'm planning to go there and get married. any idea if i could stay there for more than 6 months if the paperwork is not completed.Also he works as a cashier, so do you think there would be any problem with the financial status?...well if anyone knows anything please share them with me..would be glad to take the help !! thanks

Francesca 6 years ago

I was reading more of the stories above and read that one of the proofs can be flight and my fiancé threw the tickets away thinking we didn't need them, also he doesn't have a job at the moment, and this worries me alot cuz i just want to be with him so bad I dont want to wait any longer, its already been two years that we been together, I just want to be with him right now and he wants to get married by the end of this summer, so it dont seem like we have much time at all

Francesca 6 years ago

also I was wondering if me being an italian citizen but permanent resident in Canada would make it difficult for me to stay there, would be awesome if I can get answers. ty :)

Francesca 6 years ago

I am from Canada and my fiancé is from Louisiana, we trying to get me to stay there but I cant figure out what's the easiest way to do, we decided to get married but idk if we have to fill anything up before that, can anyone help me out figuring it out?

Chuck profile image

Chuck 6 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

John - I don't believe that your fiancée has to go back to the Philippines in order to come to the U.S. and marry you. However, I suggest that you double check this with and official at your local United States Customs and Immigration Service Office or with the U.S. Embassy if you are currently residing abroad yourself. Good luck.

Rose 6 years ago

I also intend to marry an American citizen, and I'm from E Europe. Neither of us has children or have been married. So, it should be simpler. But what astounishes me is the discriminating attitude the Governemnt has there toward the less developed countries. "Their main objective is to prevent single adult women from less developed countries to marry a U.S. citizen and stay there"..."except for Western Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand". What is the rest of the world? Subhumans? What the f**k's with this attitude? This is really low of them. Really low. It shows how judgemental and narrow the American Constitution is. Anyway.....once he and I get married, we're settling somewhere other than U.S. I don't wanna grow my children in America and grow up in that society. Horrible.

john 6 years ago

chuck, yea im american, so she doesn't have to go back to the philippines? and thanks man

Chuck profile image

Chuck 6 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

John - if you are an American citizen seeking to bring her to the U.S. you would file the petition and visa request with the USCIS in the U.S. indicating both her country of citizenship and current country of residence.

If you are a British subject then you should inquire and follow the UK's process for obtaining the necessary paperwork for her to marry and live with you there.

john 6 years ago

hi chuck, my filipina gf works in England, can I file my petition for a fiancée visa there?

Nan Mynatt profile image

Nan Mynatt 6 years ago from Illinois

Chuck, thanks for your information on how to marry out of this country. The ordeal you went through was unbelievable. They make it hard for some countries and easy for our Mexican friends. I am truly sorry that your wife had to go through so much to marry you and become a citizen. I am sure that you have a lot to share about your past lives. We have a couple in this small city who have adopted Russian Children. They were determined and won! There are so many comments, that you should write a book about your experience!

Kate W 6 years ago

Thank you Chuck, I appreciate it. My concern was mostly having to have a cosponsor, since my fiancé didn't want one. It was hard for us to be apart 5 months, then we will have been apart another 4 months before we see each other again (if I can get things together, a friend told me visas from W. Europe are a snap). It's hard for anyone to be patient for that long, and I would hate to force him to wait. Though it would break my heart, I would have to give him the option of being 'cut loose' so to speak, rather than waiting so long for me to get all the legal stuff straightened out. I guess if he really wants to be with me, he might change his mind about a cosponsor. I definitely will see an attorney, soon. Thanks a million! I am grateful for your willingness to spend time helping other people through your own experience. The bureaucracy involved in what should be such a simple thing is a nightmare.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 6 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Kate W - I don't recall having to submit tax returns with the financial responsibility affidavit. I think that I just submitted copies of pay stubs.

As I have stated many times above, I am not an attorney so I can't give legal advice.

However, if it were me in your situation I would submit the required paperwork and copies of tax returns if they are now required and then include a cover letter explaining the difference in income due to the divorce. Also attach copies of pay stubs so they can calculate your current income if they wish.

As I see it the worst that can happen this way would be for them to turn down your application and make you wait until the Spring of 2011. I believe that their main concern is that you can't support him and he has to go on welfare.

If you have any questions contact an attorney after you have prepared the letter and rest of the package and let him or her review it - having everything completed should reduce the time used by the attorney and reduce the cost as well.

Good luck and, again, this is simply a suggestion and not legal advice, so see a lawyer if you have any doubts.

Kate W 6 years ago

My fiancé is a French citizen and I am a US Citizen. I know pretty much everything about the I129 Process except one thing. I got divorced last year so my tax return for '09 won't reflect adequate income. Do you have any idea if it is possible for the financial responsibility affidavit to be based upon my current income, verifiable by several months' check stubs, or is it necessary to obtain a cosponsor if I don't have tax records yet? We really don't want to wait until Spring 2011 to apply for his visa, as we have known each other since last March, met in person twice since then, and really want to be together. Also, my family may be reluctant to help me with cosponsorship, and he prefers we don't use a cosponsor anyway. Any information would be appreciated, but certainly my next stop is an immigrations attorney, if I can find one that doesn't price me out of the ballpark just to give me the pertinent information I seek, or give me the runaround without answering my questions directly. I've been getting pretty discouraged, with the ambiguous and/or confusing language on the homeland security website, and my fiance's lack of understanding of the legal immigrations process in the US. Not to mention pretty mad at people stateside who have told me "Why don't you just forget about him and find a nice American man?". I feel like asking them "Why don't you just forget you have children, so you can have fun all the time with no responsibility?" It makes about as much sense.

al 6 years ago

i want to know i got married in santo dominigo and i did my divorce papers but got divorce before i got married what can i do now cause i want to bring my wife to this country

laikemiller.census2010 6 years ago

hi. if anyone can help me out. i've been talking to my fiancé from the philippines for about 5 years now. I have no clue what to do as far as getting her over here. Neither one of us have any children and we just want to get married and start a family together. If anyone can help me add me to yahoo messenger at laikemiller.census2010

Chuck profile image

Chuck 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

mench - thanks for visiting and commenting.

Unless the rules have changed, I don't believe there is a minimum time the couple has to have known each other. Further, I don't know of any requirement that denies entry to nurses. In fact a couple of years ago the nursing shortage was so severe here in Tucson that a couple of the hospitals went to the Philippines to recruit nurses. They choose the Philippines because, being a former U.S. possession, English is spoken by many and the educational curriculum and requirements for nurses are very similar to those of the U.S. which they were patterned after. (NOTE: the recession has resulted in a somewhat decreased demand for nurses here but I believe that there is still a good market for qualified nurses who meet state licensing requirements - it just takes longer to find such jobs now).

Good luck with your application.


mench 7 years ago

Hi chuck!I met my hubby to be through phone last year Nov.2008.He is a co-worker of my sister in the hospital in Florida.I just knew him through phone that time and after that he always called me and our special relationhip began the next month,December 2008. Everyday he called me through his cellphone since he is not fond of using the internet.He was divorced year 2007 of December and have 5 kids.. He visited me here in Philippines last June this year and then we found out that we truly fall inlove not just in phone but also in person.When he returned to US last July,he submitted my fiancée petition to USCIS.My question is that: it possible that his petition for me as a fiancée will be denied because we are less than a year in our relationship?

2. I graduated in Bachelor of Physical Therapy but I am underboard.I am registered nurse by profession and are currently self-reviewing for NCLEX.Is there a possibility that i will be denied because of my profession?

I really find your article so helpful.Thank you so much:)

Chuck profile image

Chuck 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

fazamisty - sorry to hear about your plight. I think that you should definitely speak with a lawyer (probably one experienced with immigration matters) before making any decisions.

Good luck and I hope things work out for you and your fiancé.

fazamisty 7 years ago


Thank you for you very informative information! This is my dilema; 4 years ago I separated from my husband and only recently filed for divorce. The divorce is final in mid October, however, I cannot re-marry for 6 months. This past year I met the man that I am going to marry. He is studying in Europe, but is a Pakistani citizen and I am wondering how is this going to affect our "marriage"? Can we be engaged while I am waiting for that 6 month period to be over? I realize that you are not a lawyer, and cannot give out legal advice, but have you had any questions of this nature? Our idea was to marry overseas where he is attending college, but from what I gather, on your experiences, it is easier to apply for a fincee visa....I cannot wait so long for to be with him, it is terrible!!!!!!! What can I do to speed things up? Would a lawyer be able to help us?

Thank You!

Chuck profile image

Chuck 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

sofia alqueria - you have my sympathy with your situation.

My advice in this case would be to contact an immigration lawyer to see what can be done. If you cannot afford a lawyer you might want to contact either your local legal aid society or the the local bar association in your area, both of which should be listed under "Attorneys" in the Yellow Pages of your phone book or go online and type the name of your city and state along with the words "legal aid society" or "bar association" in a Google or other search bar. Your case, as you explained it here, does not sound too complex so an attorney could probably handle it for you for a small fee. Also, both the bar association and legal aid often have attorneys that will handle simple cases for free for people who cannot afford to pay.

Good luck and I hope things work out for you.


sofia alqueria 7 years ago

I got married 2 years ago, but I discover my husband don't want to work at all because immigration rules said that I have to respond for him, beside, he is using my car all the time because I have to give to him transport, and now also I realize he married me just because he wants to bring his 6 sons and daughters and at the begining he told he has only 3 what I have to do to get his deportation. thank you.

Tamaya 7 years ago

Hi Chuck! Thank you for taking the time for this article. I have been dating my fiancé for almost 10 months. I am a 39 year old female American. Born and raised, and my fiancé is 38 years old living in Dominican Republic. Both never married, nor have children. He is a Cuban/Dominican. I met him by accident via skype (an online telephone). I just came back from visiting him in July 2009, and we are MADLY IN LOVE! So, I JUST sent off my first set of forms to USCIS. I used the I-129F the fiancé Visa form they told me to fill out with information concerning myself, as well as for my fiancé. I also sent along with the asking payment of $455.00. I received a letter 2 weeks later, stating that they received the package and that our 'case number' (They gave me a case number) is pending...I will let you know the outcome as it unfolds, for I see the times have changed a bit, but we shall see....fingers crossed....they SAY on their website 3-5 months...I am not sure if this means, TOTAL time to have my fiancé here with me in the US or just on our end and then shipping the package to the Dominican Republic, to have my fiancé take care of his forms, medical exam, interview, and the criminial clearance...I am not sure, perhaps you may know? Thank you again for this information, for I did as much research as I could mostly on the USCIC website. I got a little sad tonight and decided to go on the net to see if anyone had posted anything on this matter....thank goodness I found this article. Like I said, I will post anything new :))))) I can sleep better tonight...I love your story :)Happy for all of you, for your patience, love, and guidance...


8601 7 years ago

I'm Moroccan (23) engaged to an American girl (20), we are in love for more than 10 months, never met each other in person and both of us are students, what can I do to meet her there in USA (in person) ? will I apply for a K1 visa in about 2 or 3 years ? just let you know that she has no income she did not get her degree yet, it means she doesn't work and she's still living with her parents ... I need your help please & thanks

Chuck profile image

Chuck 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

cfangerow - Have you checked to see if you qualify as a citizen of another member nation of the European Union (EU)?  If you do qualify, you would be considered a dual citizen (U.S. and other nation) and could qualify for an EU passport (just don't use the EU passport to enter or exit the U.S.)  and automatic residency rights in the UK.  So long as you don't vote in non-U.S. elections, run for public office abroad, or accept a commission in the armed forces of another nation or executative level foreign government post you could still retain your U.S. citizenship.

See my Hubs "How to Apply for Emigration to Ireland from India"( ) and "Citizen of Both Ireland and America" ( ) in which I discuss dual citizenship for Americans.

cfangerow profile image

cfangerow 7 years ago from United Kingdom

This is a fascinating article and very helpful. I am a 56 year old American woman living in the UK and in a long term relationship with a Brit. When the time comes, the process for me to get residency here will be slightly easier, but still it's full of red tape and lots of expense (the visa application costs over £500!!). Fortunately, the UK grants Americans six months leave per visit and so far I've been able to get by with leaving every six months and returning for another six months as long as I can show that I can support myself without working here or taking state benefits. Eventually we will get it all sorted but until then I do a lot of travelling back and forth!

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Chuck 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

JesseJay - I suggest that you check out the USCIS website at to get information about the visa and application process. 

Here is a direct link to the directions for completing Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiance(e))   and here is the link for the Form I-129F itself .

I believe that filing Form I-129F is still the first step in the process.  Unless you are familiar with government forms and regulations, I suggest that you seek help from someone familiar with government forms and processes.  

After you complete the form you could try to take it to the local USCIS office to try to get an immigration officer to review it for you before filing it.  An alternative would be to have a lawyer (perferably one familiar with immigration law) review it. 

There is now a $455 fee that has to be has to be paid when submitting the form and required documentation.  There will be fees for other forms down the line as well as the costs associated with her moving here and she won't be able to work or get a driver's license for a few months until her Green Card arrives.

This is not a fast process and it can be frustrating.  

However, if you two are really in love and she is as wonderful as my wife, the cost and frustration of the process will be more than worth it.

Good luck and best wishes.



JesseJay 7 years ago

Hi, I'm an american citizen born and raised all of my 21 years of life. I met a girl on the internet and of course we fell for each other. But we've talked for years ever since we were around 16 and 17 years of age. She is from England and we're looking to obviously get married since this is the only way around the stuff, By no means do I mean the marriage is a shame because I love her to death and would adore to marry her but my question is, She came to visit on a tourist visa and so she has pictures of proof that she came and saw me and met me and what not...... So I should be technically fine for the K1 Visa right?

kellyp 7 years ago

Wow Chuck, thank you for your extensive reply. I am sure I speak for all other bloggers when I say YOUR ARE THE BEST! May God bless you for helping so many people. Dealing with immigration is such a tedious process, it is priceless to have someone help you navigate through it. THANKS AGAIN! and God bless you and your family.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Kellyp - thanks for visiting and for your comment.

As to your question, I don't recall having to show proof of residence to the immigration authorities. Of course, I provided them with my home address on all my correspondence and other information which is what it sounds like your sister is doing with your address.

I did have to provide the USCIS with a financial statement showing my assets, liabilities, income and expenses to prove that I could support my fiancée and her children. If your sister doesn't show any rent or mortgage payments on her statement there might be some questions raised but that could probably be solved by either explaining her work situation or by having a written agreement with you to pay you some rent for sharing your home (this, of course would be income to you for tax purposes).

In my case I was required to provide proof of where I lived, not to the USCIS, but to the local school district in order to enroll my stepson in the public high school in the district. I also took both of my stepchildren to the local library immediately and got library cards for them so that they would have some type of official identification since, until their green cards were issued they could not get Security Cards or driver's licenses (my stepson was too young for a driver's license but his sister was 20 and old enough for a license). My wife's visa allowed her to get both a Social Security card (with the "Do Not Hire" restriction on it) and a driver's learner's permit (which expired as soon as her 45 day visa expired and couldn't be renewed until the green card came) immediately.

In the case of my stepdaughter, we almost had to use it a year later when she had mastered enough English to enter the community college. Since she was legally not my daughter she could not qualify for in state tuition based upon my 20 year's resident in the state but might have been able to use the library card as proof of residence for the past year in the state. This was important because the difference between in state and out of state tuition was over $2,000. As it was, when the school term started she was about 3 weeks shy of the one year residence and we would have had to pay the out of state tuition except for the fact that I worked at the college and a co-worker, in a similar situation, told me that, since I was able to claim her on my wife's and my joint tax return, she qualifed as family and I was thus entitled to have her tuition waived since she was a family member of an employee of the college.

Again, my experience was five years ago so I suggest that you double check the information above, but hopefully it will give you ideas for things to consider. Best wishes to your sister and her fiancé.

kellyp 7 years ago

Thanks for all your priceless information. I know you did your process years ago and things have changed but I would like to know if you know what proof is required that the marriage is legitimate after your fiancé arrives. My sister who ocassionally lives with me is applying to bring her fiancé here who she met this summer in Argentina. The thing is, she only ocassionally lives with me because she does temporary work abroad most of the year and so doesn't have a permanent address here and stays with me. She said when her finace comes they will move in with me permanently which I am okay with since I have 2 extra rooms. But I do not want her name on any of my utilities, house bills or lease etc. She asked if she can use my address on her immigration application and I said okay as long as it is okay with immigration. My question is do you think this will be a problem for her? Will they ask her for proof of address such as name on bills etc.? Does she have to have her own residence in her name? Will immigration request her records? Or is it enough for me to verify with them that she lives here with me and it is fine for her finace to live here also.

catherine 7 years ago

thanks I am looking to bring my fiancée to the us and ur article really hepled

teleassistência 7 years ago

Chuck, I've been reading several of your hubs and they are amazing. Thanks for sharing all these useful information!

Chuck profile image

Chuck 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Frank - The answer to your first question is that you don't have to prove phone calls since what they are looking for is evidence of you visiting her in person in her home country. For this you use copies of plane tickets, hotel receipts, photos of the two of you together (posing in front of a recognizable landmark like Lenin's tomb in Red Square in Moscow, can be helpful), etc.

Second, for her place of birth you can either enter RSFSR (the former name) or Russian Republic (the current name) with the name on her birth certificate in parenthesis. The same for the city since Leningrade is now St. Petersburgh. In my case my wife was actually born in Estonia which is now a separate country and that is what I enetered on the I-129F form.

Frank 7 years ago

This was informative thanks. I have two questions how do you prove that you talk on the phone when you are using phone cards? Secondly I am having a problem with a question on the I-129F form which is place of birth. She was born in !973 which was still Soviet and her birth certificate actually says RSFSR (Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic) so what should I list on place of birth. USSR, Russia or RSFSR, also the Birth Certificate says Leningrad or is it St. Petersburgh

Chuck profile image

Chuck 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Miss Fashionista - there are a number of sites on the web that offer these services. I did not use one of them and have no experience dealing with any of them. Some are probably good and others may no be so good. I did the process myself working off the official governemnt USCIS site.

As to electronic filing, that may be possible. My only question would be how do they handle the supporting documentation that has to accompany the application?

If you are unsure as to how to go about getting the visas or want to have professional help I would suggest you get a reference for a good immigration lawyer and then have a preliminary meeting with him/her (I think they will do an introductory meeting for free) to discuss fees and how they will help you. If you come away feeling comfortable working with that person and confident that they will be able to get you through the process so you can be together and get married, then retain them. If not, then seek another one.

I hope this is of help to you and good luck with getting together and with your planned marriage.


miss fashionista profile image

miss fashionista 7 years ago from PI

hi i also read this from thsi website is that site official? me and my boyfriend want to have the fiancé visa and then get married in the US, we want it to get started ASAP, but the thing is i also thought about getting the facts straight before doing business with some random law firm i found on the net. can you do electronic filing for K-1 visas? coz that's what they do too and they say it makes the whoel process faster. do u also have any idea as the approximate costs of K-1 visas with the forms and everything, also with usual lawyer fees? it would be really helpful.any information you can provide is really importantthanks and God bless

ClaudiaP profile image

ClaudiaP 7 years ago from California

I've been there, survived through that, but I don't even want to think of it now. The whole process was just awful!!! I came here on a K-3 visa, as a non-immigrant spouse of a US citizen. It took 7 months before I got the visa to be able to come to my husband. The fiancé visa would have been faster, but we wanted the wedding in Romania, for all our big family there to be able to attend. In our culture it is a very important event and it would have been impossible to get all of them here to the US.

Anyway, we survived the 7 months of separation and the nightmare of papers and more papers and evidence (which was not over once I came, cause we had to file for the next stage and the next).

Some friends who did the same as we did but half a year later got through in about 3 or 4 months, so much faster. I guess the uscis has improved in the meantime.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Kelda4ever - thank you for visiting my HubPage.

As to your question, it took me about a year and a half to get the paperwork processed to get the Fiancée Visa to bring my wife (she was my fiancée at the time as the rules did not allow us to marry before she came here under that class of visa). It then took another 8 - 10 months to get her Green Card (which was needed in order for her to get a job in the U.S. and get a driver's license).

I believe that the process is much faster now. In my case, we went through this process about a year after the Sept 11, 2001 terror attack on the World Trade Center after which the immigration service was merged into the new Homeland Security department. It took them about 2 years to do this merger and as a result processing of visas and green cards were delayed. From what others have commented on this site the process is much faster now - so long as the applicants complete the paperwork correctly and file it in a timely manner.

Good luck and best wishes for you and your fiancée.

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kelda4ever 7 years ago

Thank you Chuck for all the informations it really helps, I just wanna know how many months the whole processing did it take ? me and my fiancée were never married before so how much time do you think it will take for us ? .Thank you Chuck

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Chuck 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Kelda4ever - welcome to HubPages and thank you for visiting my HubPage.

As to your question about proof of your relationship, all I can say is that when I met my wife the rules were that we had to show proof that I had traveled to her country (Russia) to meet and be with her in person. There were no specific requirements regarding the type of proof I could supply but they did list examples such as photos of us together, airline, hotel and restaurant receipts from Russia, etc. Basically, they were looking for evidence that we had met in person and that I wasn't simply ordering a bride, sight unseen, from abroad.

I hope this helps.

kelda4ever profile image

kelda4ever 7 years ago

Very interesting Hub, my finacée and I plan to get married in US and we don't know what can we show to the consular like a proof of our relationship, can some pictures of us together and some letters that she sent me before help ? Thank you.

Auggie 7 years ago

Thanks Chuck,

I'll look at some of these websites. My main concern is her happiness. I guess I worry about her maybe getting homesick. the Chinese culture is very family oriented and it is quite a sacrifice for her to move. We have talked about this quite a bit and she feel ok about leaving her homeland. We have known each other for over a year and I have visited her and her family back in June and I will go back this January. We are truly in love and I'm truly concerned about her adjusting to the American life. Thanks for your help, I'm very glad I stumbled across your site.

Thanks again,


Chuck profile image

Chuck 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Auggie - Sorry for the delay in responding.  As to your getting married and your wife returning to China in time for her daughter to resume school your biggest problem might be waiting for her green card.  Unless things have changed, her K-1 Visa will only be good for 45 days which means that she could not re-enter the U.S. on that visa.  Because immediate return to Russia after our marriage was not something that we had to deal with in our marriage and because the rules in this area tend to change, I recommend that you speak with an immigration officer to get a current answer to your specific needs.

As to websites or blogs on adapting to your cultural differences here are a few that I found using a Google search key words:   cultural differences US China marriages  focus is business relationships     one or more academic articles focusing on marriage between Chinese and Americans     Australian piece that focuses more on why Western men and Asian women are attracted to each other and their attitudes to getting married rather than on after marriage.    focus is on divorce rates between Westerners living in China and Chinese nationals and the couples continue to live in China after marriage.    academic article that includes history and laws dealing with Chinese race relations in the U.S. but, when you scroll down a couple of screens you will encounter some information on cultural aspects of Chinese-American marriages.

Try using different search criteria to find something more specific to your needs.  When I was courting my wife I found a site run by a Russian woman who had married a South African and lived in South Africa.  The site had a lot of good information on Russian women seeking husbands abroad and how they thought.  It also had advice, based upon her experience and that of other Russian women she had interviewed, how to help them to adapt to their new lives abroad.  This and other sites were helpful, however, the best piece of information was a reminder to remember that since the woman is planning to move abroad, marry and live in a new country that she is also probably trying to learn about how to adapt to her husband's culture and the customs of her new homeland so she may have already made a number of adaptations to new customs and culture herself so you have to be ready to adapt to the changes she has made.  A couple of additional things to consider are the fact that people are individuals and may not fit a cultural stereotype exactly, especially when they are from large and diverse nations like China, Russia or the U.S. so many  of the customs, etc. that you read about may apply to Chinese in general but not necessarily to your wife.  Finally, in our present global society most people from urban areas in developing and advanced countries already share many aspects of the global culture. 

In my case, when I first met my then fiancée in person in Russia I had to immediately ditch the idea of adopting or accommodating many of the aspect of Russian culture that I had read about since these either did not apply to my wife, were not important to her or she had already set them aside in preparation for marrying me and moving to the U.S.  In fact one of the first significant differences I noticed was that she liked and had her radio tuned to a local station playing American country music while I tend to prefer classical.  Probably the two biggest changes I made were to adopt the Russian practice of replacing my shoes with slippers upon entering the house (although my sister who is 100% American and married to an American has also always practiced this custom in her house) and learned to back off and turn over the running of the house to my wife as Russian women have always tended to take charge of the household (see my Hub on redecorating ) itself while leaving things like finances and decisions on things outside the house to the men. 

Auggie 7 years ago

Thanks for the info Chuck,

The reason I ask this is because my wife will want her daughter to finish highschool in China before she comes over here to live with us. So if we get married this summer, she would like to go back for the school year approximately 10 months. I was just wondering if there are any time limitations.

I have one more question, do you know of any websites or blogs on adapting to our cultural differences? Thanks

Chuck profile image

Chuck 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Auggie,  Based upon my experience with my wife and step children, they can travel outside of the U.S. once they got their Green Cards.  They need to present their Green Cards in order to re-enter the U.S. from abroad - INCLUDING from Canada & Mexico. 

Since they don't qualify for U.S. passports until after they become citizens they have to present a current Russian passport (in your wife's case it would be a Chinese passport) in order to enter other nations.  In the case of Canada and Mexico, their Green Cards were sufficient to enter those nations by car or on foot the last time we entered those two countries,  Two years ago we walked across the Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls from the U.S. to Canada in order to see the falls from the Canadian side - the Canadians accepted my wife's and stepson's Green cards while the U.S. authorities were adamant that they would not re-admit them to the U.S. without the green cards and the same was true when, later on that same tirp we drove across the bridge at the 1,000 Islands to spend a weekend on the Canadian side.  As for Mexico, we last crossed the border a year ago on foot at Nogales, Arizona and by car at Lukeville, Arizona and nothing was required to enter Mexico but they had to show their Green Cards to re-enter the U.S.  However, I believe that now both Canada and Mexico are requiring passports for U.S. citizens to enter so they may or may not require passports for U.S. resident aliens with Green Cards as well.

Also, most nations in the Western Hemishpere and Western Europe allow U.S. citizens to enter without first obtaining visas but require visas as well as passports for nationals of other nations.  In this case you wife, like my wife, will be considered nationals of their country of origin and, as such will have to obtain visas if they are required.  My stepdaughter discovered this when she decided to join some friends  on a visit to Germany.  Her American friends simply got their passports and purchased their plane tickets while my stepdaughter had to also locate a German Consulate in the U.S. and then take her current Russian passport and other required papers to the Consulate in person and obtain a German visa before leaving otherwise she probably would not have been allowed to enter Germany.

Another thing to keep in mind is the renewal of a foreign passport.  For some nations this is easy (as a dual citizen holding both American Irish citizenship - - I can renew my Irish EU Passport by mail paying only the standard fees & can renew my American passport at most Post Offices) however, in my wife's case the options were limited to three - fly back to Russia to renew it (an option that is only available if the passport has not expired), go to the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C. in person or pay a passport service to take care of it - we opted for the passport service which was the easiest and least expensive but the total cost - passport renewal fees plus the service charge for the passport service - came to $400.

Once your wife obtains U.S. citizenship she will be eligible for a U.S. passport and will be able to dispense all the extra burdens described above.

As to returning to China before  she becomes a citizen that is allowed.  When my wife and stepchildren received their permanent resident Green Cards we were told that they were required to maintain a log of dates they exited and returned to the U.S. for all foreign travel lasting more than 24 hours but don't recall anything about how long they could remain outside the U.S. on these trips.  There may be a limit, however, since we have not traveled abroad yet I haven't bothered to check on this. 

I suggest that you check the USCIS web page (see the link at the end of the article above) or contact the local office of the USCIS to check on both how long your wife could remain outside the U.S. as well a verify that the information I have provided above is still accurate as the rules sometimes change over time.

Auggie 7 years ago

I am in the process of getting my fiance over here on a K1 Visa from China. I know this is a long process and we are patiently waiting. I have a question for you, I hope maybe you can help me out. After we are married can my wife travel back to her country and if so for how long?


Chuck profile image

Chuck 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Jesse - My advice would be to visit the nearest USCIS Office and speak with an immigration officer. You can click on the link to their website which I put at the end of the article and might either find your answer there or be able to locate their nearest office.

The other thing to consider is the fact that some countries won't issue visas to visit the country to people who have a record and this might make the in person meeting with your future fiancee in her country difficult. But I would check this also and avoid looking in countries where you might have trouble visiting.

good luck

Jesse 7 years ago

I am thinking of meeting a woman abroad and trying to get married. The only concern i have is i had a criminal past when i was younger (8-10 years ago). Nothing major i was busted with pot a couple times and 2 dui's also 1 2nd degree assault (basically a bar fight)

I moved past all that a long time ago it was just partying no domestic violence or anything like that ive never hit a woman in my life. Im 31 now i have a 3 year old son and am just looking to settle down is my past going to hold me back?



Chuck profile image

Chuck 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Jessica, As far as I know the U.S. government still requires that a person seeking a visa to bring a foreign fiancée to the U.S. for marriage must show evidence that they have met in person abroad. However, you may want to check directly with an immigration offficer at the local USCIS office or consult an immigration officer to see if there are any other options for you.

Good luck

Chuck profile image

Chuck 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Peter - I understand you and your fiancee's desire to have the children with you here in the U.S. Since she has full custody of the children this probably won't be a problem. However, you state that the father has legal custody rights and this could be a problem as I believe that the U.S. government will recognize these rights and that could cause complications for your plans. My recommendation is that you retain the services of a good immigration lawyer to assist you with this part of your plans.

As for visas for the children, these are usually K-2 Visas which are issued to children of a parent coming here on a K-1 Visa. You can get more information on K-2 visas from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service website ( ).

Good luck and I hope your fiancee and her children are able to join you soon as one family.

Jessica 7 years ago

hello. I have a question about marrying someone abroad. Do you abslotuely have to have met them before in person before both of you would to be able to marry each other? I found the love of my life online and I need help on how to get him here to me so we can be together. Thanx if u can help me.

Peter 7 years ago

Your site is very helpful, interesting and knowledgeable, great job!

My girlfriend and I intend to get married but we have some questions please. She is a Mexican citizen liviing in Monterrey MX and has 2 children ages 6 and 11. All of them have Mexican passports and US tourist visas that don't expire for at least 6 more years. She is divorced and has full custody of her children. According to divorce paperwork the father has visitation rights for a few hours 2 days a week. He actually only sees them for a few hours maybe once a week. I understand somewhat the fiance visa process from reading on this but there is not much information regarding kids that are being brought into the US. We are guessing that the father will makes things as difficult as possible. Are you familiar with how we can bring her and the kids here if the father objects to this? My income is fine and I will be able to support them. Also, she intends to start working here as soon as legally possible so any help with this is appreciated. I don't intend to "adopt" them but just want her and the kids here all together. Also, do you know if there is a time when she will be "restricted" from travel during any of the application processes? She intends to go back and forth often to visit a sick parent. Any help and info appreciated .

Chuck profile image

Chuck 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

mrcolange - thank you for your comment. 

You are right, there are a few who marry just for the green card.  However, most are looking for a husband and a new life.  I have been happily married to my wife for over 5 years.  In addition I have two wonderful step children in addition to my own two and have a great relationship with my inlaws back in Russia.

When I decided to remarry, I turned to the Internet as a way to meet women rather than looking for someone in a bar or club.  My intent was to meet someone locally but I soon began receiving occasional messages from women in the former Soviet Union.  Since these women were attractive and intelligent and, since I had some knowledge of the country having made two visits there as a student years ago I began investingating to find out why so many women were looking to marry abroad.  The motivation is demographics.  Alcohol was one of the few products produced in abundance under the previous communist regime and alcoholism among males was and is still very high.  In addition many of the men are also heavy smokers of unfiltered cigarettes and the main method of cooking is frying using lard with salt as the only seasoning.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that this is a recipe for heart disease and the heart attack rate among men in that area is very high. 

The birth rate is about 50/50 men to women.  But, beginning about age 20 men start dying and the portion of women to men in the society begins to diverge at a rapid rate.  In addition to the death rate reducing the number of available men for women beyond their 20s most of the remaining men are either married or are divorced alcoholics. 

In the post Communist era this situation is changing and the future population should be more balanced between men and women.  However, the shortage of men in age groups above about 30 is forcing women to look abroad if they wish to remary following the death or divorce of their husband.

There can be dangers in marrying a woman from abroad and one has to use caution and common sense when courting these women.  But the same is true when marrying someone from this country - the divorce rate in the U.S. is about 50% overall, and I have seen statistics that show that during the first 7 years of marriage (this is the period when most marriages break up) the divorce rate for men who have married women from abroad is about the same as for those who marry locally while, after 7 years the rate for divorces in marriages involving a woman from abroad is a few percentage points lower than the rate for those who marry locally.  


mrcolange 7 years ago

All you guys marrying these forein wives. They are using you for a green card. If you do get a divorce from them. You will be obligated to support them for ten years because they can not file for goverment assistance for 10 years. You legally have to pay.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Daryl - thanks for visiting my HubPage. You probably won't have a problem if it is just your fiancee you are bringing over you probably won't have a problem. The government's main concern is that you earn enough to suppor the two of you so that she won't have to go on welfare.

If you want to get an idea as to whether or not your income is in the ballpark you might want to click on the link to the USCIS website that I placed at the end of my Hub. On the USCIS site click on the button marked "Immigration Forms" and scroll down to the Affidavit of Support (I believe its number is still I-134) and download it. This should give you an idea as to whether or not the government will assume you can support her. As I recall, this is a short form and easy to fill out. The big catch is that it is an affidavit (so it will have to be notarized) in which you swear to support her and keep her off welfare for at least 10 years (at least that is what it required when I filled it out for my wife and her two children). Of course there is other paperwork and this form is but one part of the process so, for now, you will just want to look at it to answer your question about your income. As I am not a lawyer and know nothing about your situation beyond what is in your comment my advice is to see an immigration officer at the USCIS or (better still as advice from immigration personnel is usually not legally binding) seek the advice of a competent immigration lawyer.

Good luck and I hope you can be reunited with your fiancee soon.

Daryl 7 years ago


I met my Russian fiance here in the U.S. She was working through a student-work program at the time. She is back in Russia now. My question is: is there a minimum salary I need to be making in order for her to be granted a Visa? What are they looking for as far as a bank statement, etc? I am a twenty-eight year old college graduate, but my degree is in Literature and I probably make quite a bit less per year than some others who are marrying Russian brides. Is this going to be a problem? I am by no means destitute and have other means of support, but I am certainly not a wealthy man, if you look at my wages.



rharper profile image

rharper 7 years ago from West Texas


That's a tough question.

First, you'll have to find the legal requirements for an American citizen to marry a Peruvian IN PERU. That's the first step.


Jose 7 years ago

my fiance is american and im from peru , we want to get marry here and do pappers living here (Peru) , How long it's going to take that process? , How much iis it? , she is scared if that process won't work , we want to live here for a while and after go to usa togethere is that pposible?.

rharper profile image

rharper 7 years ago from West Texas

Good question...  The BCC (border crossing card) pertains to Mexican nationals only.  That said,  other nationalities may hold a B1 or B2 visa.  It's commonly known as a  BCC B1/B2  visa laser.

It appears that people from Canada can apply for a B2 visitors permit for an  extended stay  (over six months).   According to this website, (  if you hold a B2 you are eligible for AOS (adjustment of status).

Note:  Because of the constant changes with immigration laws and opinions in the USA, I highly recommend one hire an immigration expert.  Short on funds? Contact the Catholic Church... they can assist you in finding options.  


P.S. If you apply for an adjustment of status, have your attorney complete work permit and overseas permission travel documents. Don't leave the USA before permission is granted. Overseas travel without permission is considered abandonment of application.

Plus, there are different rules on travel depending on how long you've been in the USA.



Chuck profile image

Chuck 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Robert, thanks for the tip.

I presume that the BOC pertains mostly to people in Mexico and Canada or can citizens of other nations who travel to the U.S. frequently qualify for a Border Crossing Card as well?

Thanks again.


rharper profile image

rharper 7 years ago from West Texas

Little known secret option for holders of BBC (border crossing card)...  if you are married and your partner holds a valid border crossing card,  apply for an AOS (adjustment of status).  

You'll be able to process the documents in the United States.


P.S.  Was lucky... found an extremely professional lawyer by word of mouth.  He broke away from a large firm ... My traffic ticket lawyer referred him.  



Chuck profile image

Chuck 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

M, thank you for visiting and commenting on my HubPage. I am sorry to hear about your marriage problems.

My advice is to find a good lawyer and discuss your situation and options with that problem. I hope things work out well for you with this problem.

maro 7 years ago

Wow, I must say that she is a very lucky girl to have you beside her!!! Very informative article, alot of time and detail information has been put.

I got married with my husband overseas, then came to the States where we started to have a family,,,,,, four kids, and he persued his profession as a MD. Now, after 16yr. and 4 children who are in their teens, I have come to understand that my husband who is now a citizen is interested in getting remarried to someone overseas in Middle East. I am very hurt, but I have found evdience which proofs what I say to be true. I am wondering can he bring someone to the States while he is married with me too?? The only thing that is bothering me is that our marriage was proformed overseas, and the only thing I did once we arrived here was to get my marriage certificate translated and stampted by the embassy of the country which we were officially married in. Therefore I don't have an actually American certificate but one that has been attested by the foreign embassy in America. Along with that our bank account or his work papers state that I am his spouse ofcourse our tax return and all. Any thoughts in a issue like this???? Thank for taking the time. All the best for you and your family.



Chuck profile image

Chuck 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Shane, Thanks for visiting my Hub and for your comment. As for your comment, this is a fairly straight forward question and could probably be easily answered by an immigration officer at the USCIS. I suggest you visit your local USCIS office and present the question to them. You may find that her income is within the range and no problem exists. Otherwise, I suspect that your Aunt should be able to sponsor you (she, as will your fiancee, will probably have to sign an affidavit promising to support you and keep you and your child off welfare for ten years) should you be unable to suppport yourself).

Best wishes for your upcoming marriage.

shane 7 years ago


Enjoying your posts.

This is a very specific question, wondering if anyone has come across:

I am Canadian, My finacee (US citizen) would be petitioning me under k-1. we are in love , and have a child. The only setback we see is: her income level, probably just under the range specified. However: I have an aunt whom has been a US Citizen for 25 yrs - could she be a co-sponser?

Eaglekiwi profile image

Eaglekiwi 7 years ago from -Oceania

Oh my goodness really enjoyed reading your hub of course I have an invested interest new Husband is American.

Its a really long story ( as Successful Internet Relationships tend to be )...but the bottom line is I flew to the USA to meet Him then ( eventually ) he came to my country ( New Zealand ) , after a long engagement we just recently married , even though I will be accomanying Him early next year to the U.S.A to live.

I have three young adults sons but they will not be coming to the States wit me so it was important for me to marry here ,so they could attend.

I dont understand why it would be more difficult for me as his wife than say as his fiancee, I beleive you but I just dont get it...why??doesnt seem logical at all somehow.

Thankyou so much for sharing your experiences and the knowledge you have gained......much of it bought back familiar memories indeed.

In fact just when you think you have reached some goal , a new horizon challenges be it Govt bureaucracy, or family dynamics.....

My best wishes to you all !!! ( check out my first hub on long distance relationship etc).... ).....guess it's written more from a females perspective though I did try to tone that down a little...haha

Chris 7 years ago

Don't even think about a foreign spouse if you are planning to have children. You run a serious risk of having your children abducted to the foreign country when your spouse eventually gets homesick. This can happen within months, years, or even a decade after your children are born and the situation always becomes messy, expensice, heartbreaking, and disastrous for the children. Statistics show that European mothers and Arabian fathers are the worst offenders; however, as director of America's Stolen Children Network (, I have aided many grieving left-behind American parents from every continent in the world over the past ten years. Thus, the problem is not limited to Europe or the Middle East. The best solution (if you plan on having children) is not to marry anyone from a foreign country. On the other hand, if you and your partner have agreed that children are out of the question, then, by all means, there is no reason to restrict yourself in any way in this regard.

--Chris, Director,

Chuck profile image

Chuck 8 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

chris waterman - I suggest that you first contact the nearest local office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service for instructions and the necessary paperwork. More than likely you will be able to complete the paperwork and submit it yourself. There will be some fees as I described in the Hub above (and they have probably increased since the time I wrote this).

However, if you are unsure of anything or if there appear to be problems, I would urge you to contact a good immigration lawyer to assist you.

Good luck and I hope your wife finishes college and rejoins you soon.

chris waterman 8 years ago

i married a russian girl before she went home to finish collage . what do i need to do for papperwork before she tries to come back to the u.s.

TheSoiLawyer 8 years ago


Really great article. As an immigration lawyer I just thought I'd say that this article was very informative from many perspectives. I've seen the effect the process can have upon couples going through it and it seems that more information out there helps people deal with some of the frustration. Showing people that there is light at the end of the tunnel is helpful too. I have some other informative sites on that can help people better understand this process.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 8 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

r.perkins05 - thanks for visiting my Hub and commenting.

As I have indicated to others who made similar requests for information regarding their individual situation, I am not a lawyer and am not in a position to give advice in individual situations. What I suggest is that you use my experience as i described it in the Hub as a general guide to the process. Check out the links that I included. In your case, your wife could go to the local USCIS office and ask about the possibility of bringing you to the U.S. and, if it is possible, ask what papers are needed and begin filling them out.

As I explained in the Hub the process is somewhat tedious, requires patience and involves filling out forms, collecting information and submitting it in the form the government requires (which includes completing the proper forms to accompany the information) and within the time frame required.

For more complex situations or if you are in doubt as to how to proceed, have your wife contact and hire a reputable immigration lawyer or contact the local legal aid or immigration assistance organization which may be able to assist you at a reduced or no charge.

Good luck.

UnschoolingPDX profile image

UnschoolingPDX 8 years ago from Portland, OR

Wow, this is an excellent post. I have moved to the States to live with my American husband... that's almost 9 years ago now. A lot has changed since I came over. This post is very informative. Thank you.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 8 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Gabriel, I think the process on the U.S. end is faster than when I did this. When I brought my fiancee over it was only a couple of years after the attacks on 9/11 and the Immigration Service was in the process of being re-organized under the Department of Homeland Security (they had previously been under the Justice Department) and this slowed things down considerably. Many of the delays that I encountered were the result of this reorganization process that was being undertaken at that time. This is now completed and, from what I have heard, the process is now faster.

However, there may be delays at the Ethiopian end. In my wife's case the Russian government had no special exit requirements to comply with and the only involvement with the Russian government was the U.S. Embassy requesting a police report on her. This is a standard requirement and the Russians apparently treated it as a routine request and processed it without any delay. This is one area where there could be delays. There also could be exit requirements imposed by the Ethiopian government which could delay things. Finally, there is the possible problem of delays due to your fiancee having to cancel a lease or leave a job on short notice as you don't know when the U.S. Embassy will issue her visa and that visa is only good for 6 months.

Once in the U.S. you will have to get married within 45 days and file evidence of this with the USCIS along with the fee which I discussed in the article. She will also have to apply for a Green Card in order to work legally. While this took a long time for my wife, the process was much improved when her children applied for their cards a year later and they received theirs rather quickly. I also learned when I was able to talk to a knowledgable agent after waiting about 8 months with no word on the status of my wife's green card application that if the process is delayed more than 6 months they will issue a temporary green card immediately.

Finally, be prepared for the fact that your fiancee/wife will not be eligible for U.S. citizenship and a U.S. passport for about 7 years. This means that she will have to use her Ethiopian passport for any travel outside the U.S. including Canada and Mexico which now require U.S. citizens to present passports for entry. She can use her green card to get back into the U.S. (in fact she MUST present it at the border when re-entering the U.S. or face a possible fine or worse) but will need her Ethiopian passport to enter other countries including Ethiopia. When my wife's Russian passport expired we not only had to change some vacation plans but it took about 4 months and a $400 fee to get it renewed.

However, if you love her and she is as wonderful as my wife the time, money and paperwork is worth it. The process is an annoying hassle but the happiness and joy of being married to a wonderful woman is well worth it.

Good luck and I hope you are able to get her here quickly.


Gabriel Jenko 8 years ago

I am currently working on bringing my fiance to the United States. I met her last year when I was working in Ethiopia as a medical volunteer. She was a student at this school next to where I was staying and we became friends and started a relationship. This continued after I left the country to come back here and after we decided to get married I have been working on getting a visa for her to come here to the US so we can live together and get married. I am all set to send in the initial paperwork and since it is just her and me, she has no kids, do you think the whole process will take very long? I know that after I send in the initial paperwork she will have to go the US embassy to get the next set of paperwork filled out, but do you have any advice for me as to what I can expect or need to do? She has told me she is ready to come here and I am looking forward to when she does, but I am hoping to help her get a job soon, or maybe even take some classes at the university where I am going to medical school so she doesn't feel alone or bored while I am in class. I am expecting to bring her here next year, thinking it will take awhile for things to clear. I look forward to hearing what you have to say, thanks.


Jenny Hu 8 years ago

Thanks so much for this informative Article!

J_Eds profile image

J_Eds 8 years ago from Blackpool

Wow what an indepth account! I am so glad my H2B (From NL) had an easier time getting into England... But it's worth all that effort when it's all over.

Long distance relationsips make a relationship stronger I think. Its hard, but it's worth the fight.

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betherickson 8 years ago from Minnesota

Lovely! You have a very interesting and informative topic here. Great post! Thumb's up!

TOCATI SERU profile image

TOCATI SERU 8 years ago

love the truth to it...

Chuck profile image

Chuck 8 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Tatyana - Thanks for visiting my HubPage and for your comments.

I agree that America needs to make changes. At one point I had to contact my Congressman's office in an attempt to find out how to file the papers regarding our marriage and in speaking with the Congressman's immigration expert I I made the comment that the information that I had previously received from the people at the Immigration Service had been wrong, was told that the law was too complicated to expect those enforcing it to understand it and give correct information. Something is obviously wrong when those enforcing the law don't understand it.

This was actually my second experience with the immigration process. Twenty-three years ago my first wife and I adopted our first son from Honduras. I followed all the instructions from the local office of the Immigration Service and from our Embassy in Honduras. Months later, when we met with an immigration officer to naturalize our 2 year old son as a citizen I was informed that we had brought him in illegally since we brought him in on an Orphan Visa but had adopted him in Honduras which meant that he was no longer an orphan when he entered the U.S. When I explained that we had done exactly what the local Immigration Office had told us to do and had not only told them that we planned to adopt him in Honduras but had shown the Embassy people the adoption papers when we had applied for his visa, he simply said that we had two options - take him out of the country and bring him back legally or forget the fact that he had technically brought him in illegally and proceed with the naturalization. We proceeded with the naturalization - I concluded that this was a routine error.

Not much has changed in the past quarter century.

Thanks again for your comment.

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reversefunnelsyst 8 years ago from Nashville


Great Post. I am a russian immigrant. My husband and I met in USA in college then I had to return to Russia due to visa requirements for two years. In 2000 we came back and we had to go through paperwork at the russian embassy and consulate in Russia.

I received my green card in 2000 and it is sad that when people want to do everything legally it takes so much time and so much effort and there are thousands of illegal immigrants who live and prosper in US.

 Again great information. Things changed in Russia in the past few years and I think America needs to make changes as well in dealing with foreign marriages. America is a diverse culture country today.

 Thank you

Tatyana Gann

CEO Global Mentors Marketing Group

How to Guitar 8 years ago

Hi Chuck, dont know why , but your pages always come with Full information. really good info to share with us. very interesting and helpful. thanks

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barryrutherford 8 years ago from Queensland Australia

I'd like someone to bring me in...

Vinie profile image

Vinie 8 years ago from USA

Hi Chuck

Nice post. Everyone tries to make their marriage and honeymoon sound like an adventure.......but you really had one.

dee 8 years ago

hi, i just read your entire entry it was very informative, im hoping to touch US soil via K-1 visa, and this will very much be useful for me some day :)

divine7k profile image

divine7k 8 years ago from San Diego, California

Hi Chuck:I enjoyed reading your hub.  I was searching online about visas, and your experience was helpful.  My case is way different.  I'm a 30 yr old woman. Last year I went to study abroad in spain, ended visiting Morocco (Casablanca,its located in Africa). I met someone(now fiance).  When I returned to the States, I found out I was pregnant.  I went to get help in an immigrations services here in San Diego, CA.  They told me that in order to bring my fiance, I had to be in a relationship with him for two years and have proof of it.  Well, I didn't qualify for such because I only had half of year in knowing him.  The second choice was to go back and get married abroad (in Morocco), then come back and file a visa as spouse.  We tried to get married last December, but because some paper work was missing, we couldnt.  I was 6 months pregnant and came back devasted because I couldnt stay longer because my airplane ticket was almost due and needed to come back to the states for my pregnancy appointments.  So, the plan was to go back on summer after my pregnancy and get married over there.On February, we turned one year of knowing each other.  On March, Our son was born.  Right now, I'm in CalWorks(TANF), looking for a job at the time. I believe I have done a lot here these past months, but how I need his support.  He cannot even send money because in Morocco they have a law that people cant send money from them.  You cant imagine my despair.Care and patience are in the equation for success..and trust me that I have been patience on this matter, and will need to be more patient because there still some way to go.I've read the last comment you had of "Molej", it sounds like they told me in immigration services my case will be like, but they certainly told me it will be easier to get married first.Also I read the fiance's visas take longer than that. Well, thank you for sharing. If you have any comments regarding my case I'm all ears and of course if anyone who read this has any comments ..they are welcome to share their thoughts, opinions or by experience is the best :D

Thank You :D

Chuck profile image

Chuck 8 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

molej - thanks for sharing your experience. I went through the process almost 6 years ago and it appears there have been some changes in the process since then. Of course, when my wife and I did this it was shortly after 911 and that was a big factor in the delays (it took the old INS - Immigration and Naturalization Service - nine months or more to change its name to the current USCIS - United States Citizenship and Immigration Service) and during that time most requests were put on hold. Also, with globalization, it is becomming more and more common for people to meet and marry people from abroad so changes have to be made to the process.

The real point of this Hub, other than sharing my experience, was to give people an over view of the process and let them know that, with care and patience, the process can be navigated without having to immediately resort to expensive professional help.

Thanks again for visiting my Hub and for sharing your experience.

molej profile image

molej 8 years ago from Annandale, VA

I went a different route from you with my wife. My wife is Peruvian and we got married in Brazil and then she came here to the US. She has been here for almost 2 years now. I stayed in the US through the whole process and my wife continued her university in Brazil.

She talked the local Brazilian government about the documents that was needed to get married there. I think it was around 5 documents, some just affidavits, this had to be notarized by the State government and the Brazilian embassy here in Washington DC. I sent all of these to my wife, she took them to have them translated. Then she went to the court in Brasilia and they told her they would contact her when we would be married. We got married July 15, 2005.

Once I returned I started the process of getting her a visa. I filed a petition with the USCIS with supporting documents (marriage certificate translated, some other forms). The approved this and I had to do financial part, showing I made enough money to sponsor her. My parents agreed to co-sponsor, because I did not make enough. I had just graduated university. We filled this out sent in the supporting documents (mostly taxes). This was approved, and everything was sent to Rio de Janiero to the embassy there.

They contacted my wife about the medical physical and the date of the interview at the embassy. She went to the embassy they asked her one question, if she had ever been to the US? She said no, she had not been here before. They approved the visa. She had to enter the US with in 6 months.

She came here after she finished University. When she first came to Miami, she had to sign some documents at the airport. She received her green card about 2 weeks after she was here.

The whole visa process took about 9 months total. A long process with a lot of forms and documents.

From my understanding, if a US citizen is married to a foreign national in a foreign country as long as this is legal and valid in that country, the US government recognizes the marriage also. When the citizen submits the petition to the USCIS, he or she presents his or her evidence showing that the marriage is legal and valid.

Not sure about children, we have none and this was our first marriage for both of us. It maybe more complicated if this was different.

This is the route we took, other than taking a long time and dealing with the paperwork, it was not that bad actually. My wife had to finish up university in Brasilia, so the process lasted almost until the graduated from university.

From reading about both visas, fiancee visa and getting married in another country. To me the fiancee visa seemed more complicated. This may not be the case.

6 pack abs 8 years ago

Interesting hub! It will be extremely helpful.

Mike Geary 8 years ago

Useful information! Great hub.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 8 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Alex, Thank you for your comment. You are right when you say that the rules vary depending upon the type of visa. From what I have read and from people with whom I have spoken with, single adult women from more economically advanced nations like the Western European countries, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. generally don't have problems obtaining a tourist or other visa to enter the U.S. The L-1 and H-1 are work visas that, from my understanding, are mainly for professionals and it is assumed that these people are here for work assignments and have sufficient attachments in their own countries which limits the chances of their staying here permanently. Also, I believe that L and H series visas require that the person be sponsored by an employer in the U.S. and that that employer inform the immigration authorities when the individual in question leaves their employment. In the case of a tourist visa there is not a good way for the authorities to be alerted when the individuals overstay their visas.

In the case of less economically developed nations people have a stronger incentive to come to the U.S. for a better life economically. From everything that I have read and heard, tourist visas are generally not issued for single adult women from these nations. Student visas and certain work visas can be obtained but, again an employer or university has to sponsor these people and report when they leave the job or leave the university.

Alex 8 years ago

"First of all, the United States generally does not grant visitor visas to single adult women from most countries in the world, the exception being Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Western European nations and a couple of other economically advanced nations. The objective is to prevent single women in less developed countries from coming to the U.S. on a tourist visa with the objective of marrying an American and staying here.

Further, foreign nationals who marry Americans while in the U.S. on visas other than Fiancee visas risk not only being deported when their temporary visa expires but can also be forever restricted to temporary visits to the U.S. on tourist visas."


This highly depends on the type of Visa that the person is using to enter the united states. L-1, H-1 (work visas) are seen as dual intent, which gives the holder the freedom to apply for a greencard, either through marriage or through work without jeopardising their status as indicated on the Visa.

As for adult females generally not being given tourist visa's, this also highly depends on the country. I work for a company that has many branches around the world, some in so-called "third world" countries and there has never been a problem with either a tourist or work visa for both single men and women of adult age. I believe that this mainly applies to Eastern european countries.

zylla3philippines 8 years ago

My previous comment was meant for timeclocknomore. I didn't mean to forget your post Chuck, but sometimes senior moments get the better of me. Very informative from a very personal perspective, and I hope you wouldn't mind if I mention you in my similar blog. Thank you!

zylla3philippines 8 years ago

You might want to check on Vonage phone service. Just a few minutes ago, I had a call from someone in San Diego, CA using her Vonage phone in the Philippines, as she is studying there now for a year. This is the 2nd time I heard about it and I might check into the specifics at some point. I call the Philippines a lot and even with the 13c/min card, I still spend a minimum of $60. Her vonage is only costing her under $30 including taxes. The first time I heard about it was when my friend came to the US, her cousin sent a vonage phone with her back to the Philippines so they can talk more often. Sometimes, she would take the unit to her mom, so she can use it to. That's what you call maximum usage--how you're going to send the unit there would be the question. I thought you have to have both units to avail of the privileges...but I don't have one and when that lady called she said it was okay. That's why I will research further...let me see if this is worth a blog. Phone Cards 8 years ago

Sorry, I mean't to use my profile page, not the "Search Results to my Hub." Phone Cards 8 years ago


Excellent post! This is definitely one of the better hubs I've seen on this website.

Regarding your statement, "overseas telephone rates for calls from the U.S. to most of the world are very reasonable (a one hour call to Russia cost me less than dinner for two at McDonald's) making this a great way to build the relationship.", were you using phone cards or another product/service?

Medical Alert Calling Systems 8 years ago

Very good advices. Thanks!

employeralliance profile image

employeralliance 8 years ago from Florida

Great Hub!! It's glad to see a case where everything went well (more or less). My business partner's company helps arrange trips to the Ukraine and Russia for men interested in meeting women overseas. Most of the time everything works out well, but some clients have seen difficulties involving paperwork, etc.

My company provides staffing and recruitment services, with a great deal of our workers coming from overseas. It is definitely a different atmosphere over there. The people are wonderful, and they are very family-oriented. It is great helping them find jobs and employment in the USA, and it is great seeing people meet, fall in love, and grow old together.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 8 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

timeclocknomore - thanks for your comment. As to your questions about calling her and getting a green card. Telephones are very expensive to have installed in Russia as most places are not wired for them and must have the wiring run from the nearest cable to the apartment. However, is she communicating on the internet from home or from an Internet Cafe? If she is communicating from home then she probably has telephone access from her home as most internet in Russia is via phone modem and just needs a telephone which is probably not that expensive.

As to getting a green card, that just takes time and merely allows one to work in the U.S. Her problem would be working as a nurse since she would probably have to go back to school for training in order to take the nursing license test for your state. Depending upon your state, it might be a matter of a course or two to prepare for the test or they may require that she complete a full nursing course before she could sit for the exam. You would have the same problem if she was from another state in the U.S. as each state has its own rules for licensing of medical professionals and the rules are more concerned with limiting the number of doctors, nurses and other professionals to keep salaries high rather than having much to do with professional skills and knowledge.

Good luck and I hope things work out for the two of you.

timeclocknomore 8 years ago


I met a woman from Russia online. It has only been a few weeks though. Your hub has enlightened me greatly. She has said that she is a nurse in Russia. Would she have difficulty getting a green card? She says she doesn't have a telephone, how could I talk to her if I call? We have just been communicating via the internet so far. Do you have any suggestions?

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jj34 8 years ago

great info

Thank you :)

Cheap Music 8 years ago

Really detials info and helpful. Thanks

NY videos 8 years ago

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Chuck profile image

Chuck 8 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

antoncarrera - Thanks for visiting my Hub article and for your comment.

First of all, let me say that I am not a lawyer so whatever information I provide in this comment and in the article is general information intended to assist people in finding information for their situation and in helping them to ask the right questions themselves.

That said, I do believe that the K-1 Fiancee visa is required for anyone wishing to bring a foreign national to the U.S. in order to marry them. As I mentioned in a previous comment for another individual above, on more than one occasion I encountered Canadians at the immigration office who had come across the border and married only to find that they had caused themselves considerable problems by not going through the K-1 Visa process. As I understand it, the only difference between a North American or West European nation and one in the rest of the world like Russia where my wife came from is that unmarried women from North America and Western Europe can travel here on a regular tourist visa while it is nearly impossible for unmarried woman from other nations to obtain and come to the U.S. on a tourist visa. Other than that, any foreign woman, or man for that matter, has to use the K-1 visa process to come to the U.S. to marry. The only exception would be in the case of a dual national who, while born and raisd abroad had an American parent and acquired American citizenship through that parent at birth. Check with the immigration service, but I believe that I am correct in this.

As to marriage in Spain, it is my understanding, (but again, double check this with the immigration service), that you have to get married first in the U.S. As I pointed out in the article, the U.S. and other English speaking nations that use English common law have a practice of allowing clergy to serve as officers of the state in cases of marriage (the licensing is done by the individual states so a clergyman in one state may not be allowed to perform marriages in another state without being licensed to perform civil marriages in that state as well). Thus, in the U.S. and other English speaking nations the marriage ceremony performed in a church consists of both the religious marriage and the civil marriage (the signing of the marriage certificate is the civil portion of the marriage) with the clergyman performing the marriage functioning as both a religious official and a civil official. My suggestion would be to get married before a judge or justice of the peace in the U.S. first (this will make you married for legal purposes) and then have the church marriage in Spain. This is basically the same two step process you would follow in Spain except, instead of going before a notary or other legal official befor or after the church ceremony and signing the legal papers that cause you to be married in the eyes of the law and then going to church for the religious marriage you would be doing the legal portion in the U.S. first and a short time later the religious portion in Spain.

Best of luck to you and congratulations on your pending marriage.


antoncarrera 8 years ago

Hey Chuck,

Great information and it helped a lot, but I have a question. I am about to become a US citizen(been here for most of my life) and I want to bring my girlfriend over here. She is from Western Europe(Spain, so am I but I lived most of my life in the US). I know that she can come to the US on the allowed three month visit, but my question is simple, do I have to fill out the k-1 visa if she is from Western Europe? Also can I marry her in Spain instead of here? I see the trouble that someone can go through if the person is from somewhere other than 1st world countries. Hopefully you can answer these questions to the best of your ability.



Chuck profile image

Chuck 8 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Mike - thanks for visiting my Hub page and for your comment.

As to your question, I suggest you check with the nearest USCIS (immigration) office and ask them what process you should use before getting married. Unless your fiance has no intention of living and working in the U.S. you will have to deal with the immigration process at some point in order to get her either permanent residence status (which would allow her to live and work in the U.S. without limitation but retain her Finnish citizenship) or citizenship. Further, when you state that, as a citizen of Finland, she is "exempt from certain visa requirements" I think you mean that she did not have to apply for a visa in advance to visit the U.S. I suspect that if you look in her passport you will see that a U.S. tourist visa is stamped on one of the pages showing when & where she entered the U.S. and the number of days she is allowed to stay here legally (something like 60 or 90 days). If you simply marry and don't have her processed for permanent residency or citizenship you may find that she can only visit the U.S. as a tourist for a couple of months each year. Obtaining a so called "Green Card" will allow her to live and work in the U.S. legally on a permanent basis with all of the rights of a citizen except for voting and holding public office. The "Green Card" is also required to get a driver's license in most states, qualify for in state tuition at public colleges in most states, as identification for boarding an airplane in the U.S. and for easy entry into the U.S. when returning from abroad (and "abroad" now includes Canada and Mexico - and, at the moment the "Green Card" functions the same as a U.S. passport or U.S. birth certificate for entering Canada to visit). While sitting in the waiting area of the local USCIS office for my wife I, more than once, overheard conversations by women from Canada (at that time Canadian citizens could cross the border by merely showing some identification) who had come here and gotten married and then found themselves involved in a complex process trying to get their status adjusted so that they could live a normal life with their husbands in the U.S.

One other thing to keep in mind here are our tax laws. I touched on this briefly in my Hub entitled "Rolling Stones Prove Tax Cuts Work" which dealt with the effects of the so called "death taxes" (estate and inheritance taxes) in other countries and in the section toward the end entitled "In America We do Things Differently" I discussed how these laws worked in America for American citizens. What I did not include in that Hub (I am preparing this as a future Hub) was a discussion of how these taxes affect non-citizen spouses. In a nutshell, there are limitations on the amount of assets that can be transferred to the non-citizen spouse each year without having to pay a Gift Tax - if you own a home valued over $200,000 and then marry a non-citizen you cannot simply transfer the title from individual to joint ownership, as you can with a spouse who is a citizen, but will incur a Gift Tax liability on part of the transfer. Life insurance proceeds (if the spouse doesn't own the policy) and other assets of a citizen who dies, do not qualify for the normal exemption which allows most middle class citizens to avoid this entirely nor for the spousal exemption which generally allows a spouse to avoid paying the death taxes entirely regardless of the value of the property inherited. Instead, when a non-citizen spouse is the beneficiary of these assets, the death tax applies to the entire estate being inherited from dollar 1. Further, to add insult to injury, the law applies to the U.S. citizen's assets wherever they are located in the world and even to the joint foreign assets of U.S. citizens who choose to spend their lives living in their spouse's nation and the assets having been acquired through their joint efforts in that nation. Finally, since tax evasion is a crime in the U.S. unlike most other nations where it is merely a civil offense, extradition treaties with other nations allow the IRS to collect and prosecute even when all the economic activities take place in a foreign nation. In most cases these tax issues are not a problem or are merely a temporary threat as most marriages to foreigners involve American men marrying women from other countries and the intent is for the wife to come to the U.S. and become a citizen. However, there is a window of about 5 years while the wife is applying for citizenship and, having cut loose from her homeland and made a new life in the U.S. it would be unfortunate to have her entangled in a legal and financial quagmire due to the accidental death of the husband. In most cases like this a term life insurance policy, owned and paid for (this can be done by simply paying the premiums from a joint checking account or individual checking account in the non-citizen spouse's name) by the non-citizen spouse, in an amount sufficient to pay the death taxes and preserve assets like the family home. However, if you situation is more complex than this you should definately seek the advice of a lawyer or financial who not only specializes in estate planning but fully understands the complexities of this specialized area of tax law.

I hope this is of help to you and, despite all the detail provided above, I suspect that you will find the process of marrying your fiance relatively straight forward and simple despite it being somewhat time consuming at times.

Best of luck on your marriage and future.

Mike 8 years ago

hey this is a very helpful article and I had a question.

In the begining of the article you mention that it is a bad idea to marry abroad, well my fiance lives in finland which is exempt from certain visa requirements, and we planned on marrying while she was here, wasnt planning on dealing with the k-1 visa, does this make things just as difficuilt as if I were to marry her abroad?

Hope that made sense.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 8 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Steve - thanks for visiting my Hub and for your comment.

As to your question, I don't know how to answer as this article was based on my experience and what I had to learn while working through the system to bring my fiancee here. I, too, was legally divorced as was my fiancee and both of us had two teenage children each. I provided evidence of that and everything else the USCIS and State Department requested. In our case the obtaining of the visa was very smooth and easy once they got around to processing our file.

I am just speculating here, but here are some thoughts. First, this could be nothing more than bureaucratic caution that will work itself out and the visa approved. Also, maybe the interviewer did not have the complete file for your case - despite the mountains of information that we are not only asked to provide but to provide multiple times as well, they frequently lose the paperwork. Also, does your fiancee speak English and was the interview in English or Russian? Language could have led to a misunderstanding and the interviewer may not have felt that your fiancee understood that you were divorced and had children. My fiancee was an English teacher and speaks fluent English. Is your fiancee also divorced and does she have children? If not, maybe the interviewer had some concerns that either her marriage to you would not work or that she was simply planning to use the marriage to get to the U.S. and then, once her residency was established, divorce you. Finally, is there a large age difference between you and your fiancee? If there is a large difference that also might have raised questions in the interviewer's mind. Everything that I have read and heard about is that Embassy has the final say in whether or not a visa is granted so a lot may be riding on the interviewer's state of mind.

My suggestion would be to wait to see what the interviewer does once he or she has received and reviewed the papers you sent. Hopefully, the papers will remove whatever concerns the interviewer has and the visa will be issued.

More than likely, this will be the case since the interviewer did not simply reject the visa application at the time of the interview. While you are waiting you might want to check with the State Department, do an online search or speak with an immigration lawyer to see if there is an appeal process in the event the visa application is rejected and, if there is, begin developing a back-up plan to deal with that contingency. There were a couple of occasions where I had problems with my step-daughter's status as she was 20 when they came over. The first occured before they came when a USCIS employee told me that she couldn't come because she was over 16 years old. I left, did my research and then returned and carefully explained that she was coming in under a different section of the law which had been changed and the age limit in that section was 21. The employee took my information to her boss who called Washington and was informed that I was right and that the new regulations had taken effect and had been posted on the USCIS website 6 months earlier. I later encountered the same problem with an immigration officer at our first interview for permanent residency. At that time the officer rescheduled the interview and told me that my step-daughter would likely be deported after that. I proceeded to research the law in depth and built what I felt was a convincing case. I also explored other alternatives (including having her join the military) and came to the second meeting confident that, one way or another, we would be able to keep her her in the U.S. However, the officer at the second meeting knew the law and the issue not only never came up but we left the meeting with my wife, daughter and her younger brother all with permanent residence cards in hand.

Steve 8 years ago


Great information!!!

I have been in a relationship for about a year-and-a-half with a Russian girl. I visited her last February in her city. I filled out and submitted all of the required forms to USCIS, along with proof and documentation of our relationship and my visit. About a month ago, I received a letter stating that the USCIS had approved our application to proceed to the next level. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow had an ssigned case number for my fiancee. She completed the required medical exam, and presented all of the required documentation. I also sent her financial records and a letter form my employer, along with the Affidavit of Support. I am divorced, and have three children from my previous marriage. I provided copies of my divorce papers to the USCIS when I made my initial application with them. At the time of my fiancee's appointment at the embassy, she was asked by the interviewer if she was aware of my divorce and children. She has know about this from the very beginning. She answered "yes". The interviewer then told her that I would have to provide copies of my divorce papers. That day I faxed the copies of my divorce papers to the embassy. My fiancee was told by the interviewer that once he received my divorce papers, he would review all of our documents, and let her know if the visa had been approved. My question is: Is this normal procedure for these people at the embassy? If so, then how long should it take before my fincee hears an answer from them? I am legally divorced, and I do pay child support every month. Is there anything about this situation that would cause the embassy to reject us? If you have any insight into this type of situation, I would appreciate some advice. Thanks.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 8 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Amy and DEE – Thank you for visiting my hub and for your comments. I am not a lawyer, so any advice I give will be general, but I hope it will help you to ask the right questions in order to find the information you need to make the right decisions.

Amy, the first thing you want to do is find out what the effect, if any, your marriage will have on your fiancé's visa status, if any, and his plans to remain in the U.S. as a resident alien. I have known people who have spent most of their lives in the U.S. as legal resident aliens and this is an option for people who want to live and work here legally but not give up their citizenship in their own countries (when one becomes a U.S. citizen they have to renounce any other citizenship that they hold). I suggest that you and your fiancé visit the nearest USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Service – what used to be known as the INS – Immigration and Naturalization Service) or consult with an immigration lawyer to find out what you have to do to ensure that your fiancé does not lose his current visa status. If you are required to be married in the U.S. I presume that you could do what I mentioned in my article above and that would be to get married in a civil ceremony before a judge in the U.S. first (this usually takes no more than 5 or 10 minutes at a local court house and only requires that the two of you be present as a court employee can serve as a witness) and then have the big wedding with family and friends in the Dominican Republic. But verify this first.

In both of your cases, any children that you have from your marriage, regardless of the nationality of the father or country where they are born, will automatically be U.S. citizens although, if they are born abroad, their births should be registered with the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate (it should be noted that in the case of a man, children born outside the U.S. to foreign mothers will only be considered U.S. citizens if the father is legally married to the mother at the time of the birth). Depending upon the laws of the Dominican Republic and South Africa the children might also be entitled to citizenship in these countries and therefore be citizens of both the U.S. and one of these countries. Dual citizenship in these cases is currently legal under U.S. law, however, it is a good idea with dual citizenship to check out things like tax consequences, military obligations, etc. owed to each nation which could be a problem for the children in the future.

Both of you should be aware of possible tax consequences if your fiancé's elect to keep their current citizenship and not become American citizens. The United States does not recognize international borders when it comes to taxing U.S. citizens. The U.S. is practically unique among nations in that it requires its citizens to pay Federal Income Taxes, payroll taxes and the so called death tax (estate tax) regardless of where they live in the world. So, if you decide to live abroad with your husbands you will still have to pay income and Social Security taxes on any income you earn (your husbands' will only have to pay U.S. income and payroll taxes if they physically live and work in the U.S.). However, in the event of your death, the IRS will assess the so called death tax (estate tax) against any property that you own (even if it is owned jointly with your husband) anywhere in the world. If your husband is not an American citizen the normal exemptions from this tax will not apply and the tax may be assessed against a much lower threshold value than is usually associated with this tax.

Dee, in addition to the financial information above, your situation might might be different as you did not mention your fiancé's visa status. The normal practice, if you plan to live in the U.S., is to file for the K-1 Visa as I did. If this is the case you can probably follow the information as I presented it above – just check to make sure there haven't been any changes in the procedures since I wrote the article a year ago. One thing I know is that the fees have increased substantially from what I had to pay. The K-1 visa does require that your fiancé arrive here unmarried and that the two of you marry in the U.S. within 45 days of his arrival. If you marry abroad without his applying for the K-1 or other visa I think you can still apply for another K series visa for him to enter the U.S. as your married spouse but, from what I have read, these are not issued as easily as the K-1 and you do run the risk of your husband not being allowed to reside or work in the U.S. with you legally and only being able to enter on temporary tourist visas.

Best of luck to both of you and, again, please check with the USCIS and/or a good immigration lawyer before getting married.

Mr Nice profile image

Mr Nice 8 years ago from North America

Nice hub, well written. Very interesting. I guess it will be helpful for some people.

Amy 8 years ago

Hey chuck i have some questions, maybe you can help, i have a fiancee in the dominican republic he has a visa to come to the US, and will be here within four months, i am to go live with him and his parents, and he wants to get married there, if we do get married what are the consequences? could he get deported if we get married, will he be able to get residency here? He also asked me to decide what i wanted to do as he said i could travel that way and we could marry in the dominican, if i do this could i get into trouble? chuck my fiancee has a visa to be in the US for 10 years, he says he dosen't plan to take up residence here because he loves his country and i don't care where we live as long as were together i will be happy, chuck give me some answers before we mess up somewhere. we would greatly appriciate it.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 8 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Maz, Thanks for visiting my HubPages and for your comment. Hang in there - the system is slow but with patience and preserverence you can succeed. I'm glad my article helped you and hope your fiance are together soon.


Chuck profile image

Chuck 8 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Thanks Misha. I will pass on your "hello" to my wife. (That is my wife on the far right in my current profile photo and her daughter in the center).

Misha profile image

Misha 8 years ago from DC Area

Quite an adventure you went through. I did not know your wife is Russian :) Say hello to her.

pinkydolphin77 8 years ago

Hi Chuck,

Congrats, you have found someone you love over the internet , finally bringing her to US is definitely not an easy task.

Happy for you. :)

nick 9 years ago

amount it costs now is alot more and they are looking for more and more proof that me and my fiance is serous

nish81 profile image

nish81 9 years ago from Dar-es-Salaam

Excellent article! You must have put a fair bit of time into this one.

barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 9 years ago from Queensland Australia

welldone great blog on the important subject matter

Chuck profile image

Chuck 9 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author


First of all, the United States generally does not grant visitor visas to single adult women from most countries in the world, the exception being Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Western European nations and a couple of other economically advanced nations. The objective is to prevent single women in less developed countries from coming to the U.S. on a tourist visa with the objective of marrying an American and staying here.

Further, foreign nationals who marry Americans while in the U.S. on visas other than Fiancee visas risk not only being deported when their temporary visa expires but can also be forever restricted to temporary visits to the U.S. on tourist visas.

It is also not a good idea to simply marry abroad as the visa required to enter emigrate to the U.S. as the spouse of an American citizen is also very difficult to get and often not granted.

If you are not going to use the Fiancee visa process that I described in the article I suggest that you consult a competent attorney before marrying and carefully observe all of the steps in whatever process he or she suggests (there are some ways to legally marry and bring or keep your foreign spouse in the U.S. other than the way I described but I would be careful and definately have the guidance of a good lawyer in these cases.


Chuck profile image

Chuck 9 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Chad, thanks for visiting my HubPages and for your comment. Since the Phillipines is a foreign country, I don't think that the process is any different than for other countries. Also, as a so called third world country (which generally refers to nations outside of North America, Western Europe and Australia-New Zealand) your fiance probably cannot come to the U.S. to visit you before getting the fiancee visa.

One possible exception might be the fact that, since the Phillipines used to be an American territory, there are a number of Filipons in the U.S., so, if your fiance has relatives here she may be able emigrate to come to the U.S. as a family member if such a relative sponsors her. This would save you haveing to travel to the Philipines to visit her (as required for the Fiance Visa), but, interms of time and paperwork, probably not be any different (other than the relatives, rather than you, having to do the paperwork).

Sorry, I can't be of more help but the immigration process is very complex and becoming more so as Congress continues to meddle with it. But I wish you and your fiance the best. Chuck

Chad 9 years ago

Great hub with cool advice - does it matter which country my fiance is from i.e. Phillipines as opposed to Thailand or Ukraine?

Isabella Snow profile image

Isabella Snow 9 years ago

Nice article!

Chuck profile image

Chuck 9 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Richell, Thank you for visiting my hub and for your comment.

As to your question, I would say that if you took your husband's last name when you got married then use that name on the paperwork for the adjustment of status. My wife took my last name and we used my last name for her on our papers.

In a couple of years when you apply for permanent residency the USCIS will ask for evidence to prove that your marriage is legitimate and not just a temporary arrangement for you to get citizenship. To prove this they will ask you to submit copies of things like joint bank accounts, deed showing joint ownership of a home or apartment lease in both names, joint owenrship of cars, credit cards and other loans in both names, etc. If you use your maiden name on the forms and your married name on financial and other documents the USCIS could question whether you are married to your husbad or if he is married to someone else since the names are different. While this could probably be explained and straightened out, it would be simpler to just be consistant and use either your maiden name or married name on everything.

Also, don't delay in submitting the forms for adjustment of status as I believe that the application and supporting documents have to be received by the USCIS within 45 days of your arrival in the U.S. Your visa is probably only good for 45 days and if your visa expires without your having filed the papers for adjustment of status you would technically be here illegally. It is my understanding that so long as you have the application for adjustment of status filed you will be recognized as having temporary residence status despite the fact that the green card has not been issued.

Again, my comments are based upon my personal experience and understanding of the process. If in doubt, you should see an attorney.

Thanks again and congratulations on your marriage.


richell 9 years ago


Have a good day. I read the story of your marriage it is almost the same with me. Me and my husband met online also and now we are married. My question is what last name am going to use in filling paper work for adjustment of status? 'coz my friend that was get married with american man also told me that she still use her last name during when they file their paper works and me i use the last name of my husband but we didn't submit yet the forms.

Zee 9 years ago

Thank you Chuck,

Chuck profile image

Chuck 9 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Zee, Thank you for your comment. As to your question I will try to answer it based upon my experience but, since I am NOT a lawyer, this is just advice based upon my experience and may not be legally accurate in your particular case. So, please treat what I have to say as unofficial information intended to assist you in asking the right questions of your lawyer or of an immigration officer and to help you in making decisions. Since you indicated that you already have a lawyer, use that person for legal questions and advice and use what I have to say here to help frame your questions. The better and more direct your questions the better the information and advice you will get from your lawyer and, as an added benefit, you should be able to get your information faster as lawyers generally bill in 15 minute increments so the faster you can present your question and get it answered completely the less you have to pay. You can also make an appointment to see an immigration officer by going to the USCIS website main page at and clicking on the INFOPASS button half way down in the left column. I just used this for a question about my wife's green card and we were immediately given an appointment at the local office a couple of days from now (I believe there was also a provision in the process for making appointments overseas as well). Despite what I said in my article above, immigration officers can give you information and it is usually correct - however, it does not hurt to check any answer they give with your lawyer as an extra precaution.

Now, as to your specific question and situation. It appears from your question that you are an American citizen living and working abroad and that your fiancee is a foreign national. It also sounds like you are planning to take a 7 day leave from work to come to the U.S. when your fiancee arrives in the U.S. and, during this 7 day stay in the U.S. you plan to marry her. This is fine and, depending upon the state you live in, could get a quick civil marriage within that time (I made the appointment for our marriage with a telephone call from work to the municipal court offices, then went home where I picked up my wife and children and went to the courthouse and were married a couple of hours later - but in some states the process might take longer). The marriage must take place before your fiancee's K-1 visa expired (when I did this the K-1 visa my then fiancee was issued was good for 90 days from the date of her arrival in the U.S.). Following the marriage, and before the expiration of your fiancee's visa, you have to file Form I-751 (this is the one that I described in the article as having difficulty finding) which, as of this writing, can be found online at:

You should be able to do all of the required work within the 7 or 14 days following your fiancee's arrival. However, there are some other things to consider here.

FIRST, and most important, is the fact that I don't think that your wife can turn around and leave the country with you following your marriage. Check this with your lawyer, but you may find that, while she can legally leave the country with a valid passport, it may prevent her from obtaining permanent residency and citizenship in the U.S. She may have to reside within the U.S. for a period following your marriage. ALSO, the INS is always on the lookout for sham marriages which are entered into solely for the purpose of obtaining citizenship for the fiancee and are not inteneded to be permanent once citizenship is achieved. If you are not physically living in the home with your foreign born wife, the INS may question the legitimacy of the intent of the marriage and move to deport your wife. Defiantely consult your lawyer and an immigration official about this before you marry - you may have to take a job in the U.S. for a while in order to prevent your wife from being deported and denied future entry into the U.S.

Second, even if you determine that you can either legally take your new wife abroad with you or leave her here without you while you continue to work abroad while she is going throught the process of gaining permanent residency and citizenship, there are problems of adjustment. First, your wife will be trying to adjust to the new country and you should be here to provide help and emotional support. She won't be able to get a a job until she receives her green card and that could take six months or more. Also, in most states, she won't be able to get a driver's license until she gets her green card and, if you live in a suburban area like I do, that means no transportation without you or a friend to drive her. It will also be difficult for her to learn English (my wife spoke perfect English but still needed time to adjust to American accents and slang as well as not being able to converse easily with people who speak fast) if she is home alone all the time. Then there are things like, shopping, applying for Social Security cards, bank accounts, doctor and dentist appointments and other everyday aspects of life which differ enough from country to country and will, more than likely, be new to her and difficult without help at first.

I suggest that you both give careful thought to first checking how your plans to continue working abroad will affect your fiancee's legal status as well as to the effect this could have on your wife's well being and adjustment as well as its effects on your marriage - living apart can be difficult on any marriage especially on a new marriage in a new country.

I wish you and your fiancee the best and please check your plans carefully with your attorney and an immigration officer.


Zee 9 years ago

I have a question, I have a lawyer doing my paperwork for her visa, I plan on getting married as soon as I touchdown in the US due to i work overseas and must be back within 7 days is this allowed? Also can you tell me, if you can what paperwork i need to start immedatley once i hit US Soil? I know Greencard and SSC anything else and should i stay at least 14 days?

Chuck profile image

Chuck 9 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Suorek, thanks for the comment. I wish you luck and hope that the information above will come in handy for you. As to working on your Slavic languages, that would certainly help, however, you would be surprised at how many East European women looking for husbands abroad already speak English. Unlike America, where foreign language training in school is not stressed, many countries, especially those in the old Soviet Bloc stressed language training from grade school. My wife was not only an English teacher in Russia but speaks perfect English. Her only problems have been learning Americanisms as she was taught British English, and understanding people, like me, who tend to speak very fast.

Suorek profile image

Suorek 9 years ago from Boylston

I certainly like to hope that this will come in handy... I need to work on my Slavic languages I think...

Denmarkguy profile image

Denmarkguy 9 years ago from Port Townsend

This is an excellent and enlightening article.

As a Danish citizen who married a US citizen in 1984, I remember much of the endless paperwork that went on... although I also remember (at least at THAT time) that there seemed to be different rules and regulations, depending on the nationality of the non-US citizen. In my case, I seem to remember Denmark having some kind of "preferred status," so the process wasn't as complex as it COULD have been. But even then... there were other complicating factors, since I had actually lived in several different countries (no uncommon for Europeans) and had to provide police records from four different nations.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 9 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Ekeh, I am not a lawyer so my comments are based upon my experience and research only. I don't see why the process would be any different for you. The fact that you have never been married and have no children would simplify your paper work a little (you don't have to provide documentation of the divorce and will not have children to factor into your finanacial statment). If you fiance has never been married that would also reduce his paperwork slightly by not having to provide documentation of a divorce. Further, if he does not have any children then that would significantly reduce the paperwork, as you have to complete a full set of paperwork for each child. As to speed of processing, the lack of children could speed up the process marginally as there are fewer possibilities for questions (such as the delays I encountered when the INS looked at the wrong law and threatened not to allow my step-daughter admittance). However, in terms of speed, the best thing you probably have in your favor is the fact that the INS appears to be back up to speed following their reogrinization after 9/11. When I applied for the Visas, they were still in the re-organization process due to their transfer from Department of Justice to Dept of Homeland Security. Everything seemed to have been put on hold for a while (I was caught in that delay) and once they began processing applications again the were delays due to the backlog of applications they had to work through. My gut feeling is that, other things being equal (i.e., nothing being different or unique about yours other than the fact that, if you fiance has no children, you are bringing fewer people in) your paperwork should be processed faster than mine simply because the INS has their act together better now and there shouldn't be backlogs to deal with either. Good luck and best wishes for your marriage.

oge ekeh 9 years ago

Your story was very interesting. I am going through the same thing, but I am a female. I am a US born and raised citizen, never been married, and no kids. Does this make my chances greater for a smoother K-1 Visa app. process? Is there any reasons why my fiance visa would be rejected? or how long does it take for the visa to be issued after the interview process?

TFW 9 years ago

I knew the process was time consuming and frustrating, but I never fully comprehended what actually took place. There has to be a better way to handle this process. Thanks for the education.

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Chuck 10 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Thanks for the suggestion. I have broken it up and added a couple of photos.

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glassvisage 10 years ago from Northern California

Put pictures or something to break up the text!

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    Chuck profile image

    Chuck Nugent (Chuck)4,274 Followers
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    Chuck has been writing for HubPages since 2006. An avid traveler with degrees in History & Economics he writes on a wide range of topics.

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